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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, January 5, 2019

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Deceuninck–Quick-Step headed to Tour Down Under

Here's the team's race update:

Taking place between 15-20 January, Tour Down Under will kick off the World Tour calendar, which our team won last season with a record number of points. The first three days will give as many opportunities to sprinters, although the stage 2 finish will be more selective, with an uphill drag to the line in Uraidla favouring the punchy riders.

The general classification will begin to take shape one day later, when the peloton will tackle the Montacute climb (2.3km, 8.9%) inside the last ten kilometres. The stiff gradient could lead to a flurry of attacks, especially as from the top there’s a fast downhill all the way to the finish in Campbelltown, which returns to the race after a two-year absence.

Despite a rolling terrain, the penultimate stage should come down to a bunch sprint, with the peloton’s fast men set to fight not only for victory, but also to wrap up the points classification, before the climbers’ big showdown on Willunga Hill (3.6km, 7.1%), on whose slopes the overall victor will emerge.

Last season, Elia Viviani opened his account in Australia, taking an emphatic win at Tour Down Under stage 3, the first of the 18 he ended up nabbing in his first year with the team. Most successful rider of 2018, the Italian Champion returns to the race hoping for a similar start and will be joined by Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, neo-pro Mikkel Honoré, James Knox, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini.

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani winning 2018 Tour Down Under stage three. Sirotti photo.

“Stage victories are the main goals with Elia first of all. It would be a good start to the year. He is very motivated as usual, but we need to see who else is there. There will be a few opportunities, but also changes in the course, including Willunga Hill on the last day now, which will impact on the dynamic of the race.”

“Our team is strong, and besides Elia we have Dries, who knows the race, and also James, who can have a bit of a free role for the GC if the legs will be there. We will take it day by day though and see how everybody reacts to the high temperatures in Australia”, said sports director Rik Van Slycke.

Team Movistar to start season at Tour Down Under

Here's the team's latest news:

For the ninth consecutive time since Telefónica started backing the squad in 2011, the Movistar Team will be travelling this weekend to Australia to race in the 21st Tour Down Under (UCI WorldTour), a six-stage event from Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 January, prefaced by the Down Under Classic criterium (Sunday 13) in Adelaide.

At the first race of the 2019 calendar, DS José Luis Arrieta will be conducting a seven-man lineup which includes Lluís Mas and Edu Prades, two of the four signings by Eusebio Unzué’s men’s team for this year. Also on the roster will be three regular names in previous TDU appearances: Jasha Sütterlin -who contested some of the 2018 race’s sprint finishes-, Jaime Castrillo -a stage Combativity award winner in his maiden pro race last season- and 2015 fifth-place GC finisher, also 6th in 2016, Rubén Fernández. The list, which features no less than six Spaniards, is completed by Rafa Valls and Héctor Carretero.

Eduard Prades

Eduard Prades (shown at the 2018 Tour of Norway) will be on the start line to race for Movistar at the Tour Down Under.

The route scheme for the Tour Down Under has been significantly changed for 2019, as the final criterium in Adelaide is replaced by the spectacular, dual climb to Willunga Hill (2.9km at 7%) on the last stage (Sunday 20), held on Australia Day. Stages will remain considerably short -none of them north of the 151km on day six-, with up to four sprint opportunities and another demanding climb to Corkscrew Road (2.5km at 9%) on Friday before Campbelltown’s finish.

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