If you think that cycling could do with looking forward and getting on with 2013, rather than wallowing in the past, then don’t fret.
Next week sees the 2013 WorldTour season get underway with the Tour Down Under.
The 6 stage race takes place in the sweltering summer heat of South Australia, in and around the city of Adelaide. Its short format means that it is not a race that is targeted by Grand Tour GC contenders, with sprinters and aggressive breakaway riders making up the favourites for the Ochre jersey which denotes the overall win.
Its stages are, by and large, flat, but there is a King of the Mountains jersey and Stage 5’s 151.5km from McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill boasts a nasty hilltop finish. The climb was much enjoyed last year, hence its inclusion again in 2013.
The most noticeable favourites are probably previous winners – Simon Gerrans of Orica GreenEdge, Andre Greipel of Lotto Belisol and Stuart O’Grady, also of Orica GreenEdge. All three riders have won the race twice. Gerrans is the defending champion, but no rider has ever successfully defended the Ochre Jersey.
Other riders to make a note of are Sky’s up and coming Norwegian phenomenon, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, and BMC’s Martin Kohler who wore the Ochre Jersey twice last year.
Four British riders take to the road: Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas for Sky and Andy Fenn for Omega Pharma-Quickstep.
The race has grown in popularity in the last few years and serves as a great opportunity for riders to build on winter training and catapult themselves into great form – it’s certain to be a great race.
Teams at Tour Down Under 2013
Ag2r La Mondiale
Ochre jersey: Overall race leader
White jersey: King of the mountains leader
Blue jersey: Sprint classification leader
Black jersey: Best young rider
Red jersey: Most aggressive rider
A handy Stage map can be seen here.