A brief 130.8km jaunt from Prospect to Lyndoch kicks off the 2016 edition of Australia’s biggest race the Tour Down Under. Heading out from the Adelaide outskirts, the day begins with some gruelling terrain from the very start, the opening 12.8km leading uphill to the top of the Category 2 Lower Hermitage climb. Once completed, there will be only rolling roads leading to the day’s finish, comprising three rotations of a city centre circuit; 26.9km in length each time. Without a single bend to tackle with 5km remaining, the opening stage is sure to be a drag race to the line and a sprinter seemingly certain to take the leader’s jersey on the first day.
Given his recent performances in the build-up to this curtain raiser, Caleb Ewan is the clear favourite to take the first win at his home race. There is no doubt that the hard start will impact upon his chances, but given his age; strength and endurance can only improve from here onwards. Giacomo Nizzolo is no thoroughbred sprinter, but on days with such a difficult start and possessing a strong team at his disposal, he has a great chance of featuring in the mix for the win. Matteo Pelucchi has fantastic support heading into this race and demonstrated in 2015 how difficult a man he is to close down when afforded a clear run at the line; his form remains questionable however.
1st Giacomo Nizzolo 2nd Caleb Ewan 3rd Matteo Peluchhi