As winter shrouds the Low Countries with its wet, grey blanket, the sun is blazing in Australia’s summer. This is where the first races of the season are held. The Tour Down Under is the first big race on the calendar. And this is what you need to know about the Tour de Oz:

The Tour Down Under takes place January 15 – 20

The Tour Down Under kicks off on January 15 in Adelaide. It finishes five days later with a summit finish on Willunga Hill, just south of Adelaide. All the stages take place in and around Adelaide. In fact, the Tour de Adelaide might be a more fitting title for the race, really.

Tour Down Under

Caleb Ewan winning the second stage in the 2018 Tour Down Under. Photo: Cor Vos

What sort of race is the TDO?

The Tour Down Under is a race in which Australian riders do well. The roster of winners’ names includes Stuart O’Grady, Michael Rodgers, Simon Gerrans, Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte. The last Dutch winner was Tom-Jelte Slagter in 2013.

Tour Down Under

Richie Porte riding his home fixture. Photo: Cor Vos.

The race is primarily made up of sprint stages. During the 2019 edition, we can expect sprints on every stage – bar the fourth and sixth – unless a breakaway group manages to keep away from the peloton.

The remaining two stages seem particularly suited to riders who are explosive but who can handle small hills with gradients above seven percent. The hills aren’t very long, which probably means the general classification (GC) will be down to a matter of seconds. Especially when you realise there’s no time trial in the Tour Down Under.

The Big Names

Let’s have a look at the riders in the 2019 edition. On paper it looks like fireworks are in store. Titleholder Daryl Impey returns to defend his honour; former world champion Peter Sagan looks set to get a lot of attention too; Richie Porte is there to show what he can do for his new team Trek-Segafredo; and Caleb Ewan is always good for an exciting sprint; as is Elia Viviani. Dutch rider Cees Bol is riding for Team Sunweb and has the chance to show what he is made of in his first World Tour event of the season.

Tour Down Under

Peter Sagan always gets a lot of attention. Photo: Cor Vos

Other Dutch riders include Wout Poels and Dylan van Baarle for Team Sky, Robert Gesink and Danny van Poppel for Team Jumbo-Visma. Former winner Tom-Jelte Slagter will also be there on behalf of Team Dimension Data. The Tour Down Under will be broadcast by Ziggo Sport in the Netherlands.