Organisers of the Santos Tour Down Under, which takes place in and around Adelaide, South Australia from 15-22 January 2012, have revealed the Team Sky line-up for the race that is now established as the curtain-raiser to the UCI WorldTour season. World champion Mark Cavedish, who endured a miserable time in his debut race at the start of this year, won't be racing.
Three Australians are named in the British team’s line-up, with Chris Sutton, winner of Stage 6 of the 2010 race in Team Sky’s debut season joining Michael Rogers, and Mat Hayman.
Rogers, overall winner of the 2002 race, is back after a debut season with Team Sky that came to a premature end in the spring when he as struck by glandular fever.
Geraint Thomas, whose main target next year will be the team pursuit at London 2012, is also in the squad, alongside British national time trial champion Alex Dowsett and Edvald Boasson Hagen and new signing Danny Pate.
In January this year, Pate rode in the race for HTC-Highroad alongside Cavendish, but the Manxman had a week to forget, crashing heavily on one stage and having to mix it with the traffic on another when he was trailing the peloton and the roads were opened prematurely.
"We are really excited about the inclusion of Edvald Boasson Hagen in the team,” said race director Mike Turtur.
“He is the current Norwegian National Time Trial Champion for the fifth year running and a two time Tour de France stage winner. He is fiercely competitive, young and hungry for a win.
"Geraint Thomas and Alex Dowsett have both had strong 2011 seasons and we look forward to that form continuing with their start to the 2012 season at our race."
"We look forward to seeing Sutton's form continue and it is always good to see Hayman racing at our event, a crowd favourite and one of the good guys of Australian cycling - he always races hard.
"USA's Danny Pate was first overall in the King of the Mountains Competition at the 2011 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, making him one to watch for the ŠKODA King of the Mountain points here," Turtur concluded
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.