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Norwegian joined by Hayman, Eisel, Sutton, Thomas, Stannard and Rowe in strong line-up for 2013 UCI WorldTour opener

Edvald Boasson Hagen will spearhead a strong Team Sky line-up when the 2013 UCI WorldTour season gets under way in and around Adelaide with the Santos Tour Down Under next month.

Joining the 25-year-old Norwegian in the British ProTeam’s line-up for the race, which begins on 22 January, will be CJ Sutton, a past stage winner, plus Mat Hayman, Bernie Eisel, British National champion Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas, back on the road after helping secure Olympic gold in the team pursuit in London this summer.

Race director Mike Turtur, himself an Olympic gold medalist in that event as part of the Australia team at Los Angeles in 1984, believes Boasson Hagen could also challenge in the Down Under Classic criterium on 20 January, the traditional curtain-raiser to the stage race itself.

“There’s always plenty of excitement when cyclists take to the track for the first time in this 51-kilometre closed circuit race,” he explained.

“Boasson Hagen finished second to André Greipel in this year’s Down Under Classic and I’m sure it will again be a close battle to the finish line.”

Turtur, recently ousted as president of the Oceania Cycling Confederation in part because of a perceived conflict between that role and his being race director of the Tour Down Under, highlighted some of the wins taken by Boasson Hagen during 2012, including the Norwegian national road race and stages of Tirreno-Adriatico and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

“Along with these victories, Boasson Hagen was second in the UCI Road World Championship road race, third overall in the Tour of Beijing and seventh overall in the Santos Tour Down Under, where he took out the Jayco Sprint Jersey,” Turtur added.

“He is certainly a rider to watch and we look forward to welcoming the entire Sky Pro Cycling team back to South Australia next month for the first race on the UCI WorldTour calendar.”

Former Sky rider Kurt-Asle Arvesen, who retired from racing last year, will be sports director, and the race will be shown live each day on Sky Sports HD.

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.