2023 Tour Down Under (aûn-dah) predictions and startlist with transfers


World Tour road cycling returns to Australia for the first time since 2020 with the six stage (including prologue) Tour Down Under. It’s probably proper journalism to mention the race’s title sponsor; however, Australian gas giant Santos is being targeted by the climate action group Extinction Rebellion with a series of disruptive protests including the arrests of three women, ages 69, 70, and 74 for public nudity so there’s no telling how long the sponsorship will hold (the group pressured Santos to abandon it’s deal with the Australian Open in 2021 and has similar plans for TdU).

This is also a good time to familiarize oneself with the plethora of transfers between teams and new sponsors. Cycling is the only sport I follow where athletes tend to only get 1-2 year contracts and sponsors change just as frequently. Imagine if the Pittsburgh Penguins moved and became the Bank of Guelph for no reason other than some rich guy decided Southern Ontario needed a Stanley Cup.


Team Jayco AlUla (possibly the biggest headache for the poor jersey designer in terms of mismatched brand co-sponsorship [i.e. RV/popup camper manufacturer / 200,000 year old city in Saudi Arabia])

  1. MATTHEWS Michael (3rd at Australian Road Nationals)
  2. YATES Simon
  4. HAMILTON Lucas
  5. HEPBURN Michael
  6. HARPER Chris (transfer from Jumbo-Visma)
  7. STEWART Campbell

AG2R Citroën Team (insurance + car company = logical branding)

  1. O’CONNOR Ben
  2. BAUDIN Alex (Swiss Racing Academy)
  3. GODON Dorian
  4. LAPEIRA Paul
  5. PETERS Nans
  6. SCHÄR Michael
  7. TOUZÉ Damien

Astana Qazaqstan Team (state-owned team with ZERO history of doping controversy)

  1. SÁNCHEZ Luis León (transfer from Bahrain - Victorious)
  2. BOARO Manuele
  3. BASSO Leonardo
  4. FELLINE Fabio
  5. GRUZDEV Dmitriy
  6. LAAS Martin (transfer from BORA - hansgrohe)
  7. MOSCON Gianni

Bahrain - Victorious (another state-owned team with ZERO history of controversy)

  1. BILBAO Pello
  2. ARNDT Nikias (transfer from Team DSM)
  3. BAUHAUS Phil
  4. GRADEK Kamil
  5. PERNSTEINER Hermann
  6. SCOTT Cameron (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast)
  7. SÜTTERLIN Jasha

Trek - Segafredo (American bicycles + Italian coffee = we’ll take it)

  1. GALLOPIN Tony
  2. BARONCINI Filippo
  4. HELLEMOSE Asbjørn
  5. LIEPIŅŠ Emīls
  6. TESFATSION Natnael (Drone Hopper - Androni Giocattoli)
  7. TIBERI Antonio

Cofidis (une banque française, dopage intermittent)

  1. COQUARD Bryan
  2. BIDARD François
  3. CIMOLAI Davide
  4. CARVALHO Andre
  5. LAFAY Victor
  6. RENARD Alexis
  7. WOOD Harrison (AVC Aix-en-Provence)

Soudal - Quick Step (the adhesive company left Lotto [now known as the relegated ehrm Lotto Dstny] to join the winningest team in recent years)

  1. CATTANEO Mattia
  2. VAN TRICHT Stan
  3. DEVENYNS Dries
  4. KNOX James
  5. SCHMID Mauro
  6. STEIMLE Jannik
  7. SVRČEK Martin

Alpecin-Deceuninck (German shampoo / Belgian PVC)

  1. GROVES Kaden (transfer from Team BikeExchange - Jayco)
  2. PLOWRIGHT Jensen (transfer from Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ)
  3. STANNARD Robert
  4. GAZE Samuel (UCI MTB Short Track World Champion)
  5. LEYSEN Senne
  6. RIESEBEEK Oscar
  7. GOGL Michael

Groupama - FDJ (French lottery, yet somehow never wins big)

  1. STORER Michael
  2. SCOTSON Miles
  3. GERMANI Lorenzo (Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ)
  4. THOMPSON Reuben (Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ)
  5. PITHIE Laurence (Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ)
  6. PENHOËT Paul
  7. MOLARD Rudy

INEOS Grenadiers (4th largest chemical company in the world, named after some billionaire’s pet project to remake the Land Rover)

  1. THOMAS Geraint
  2. HAYTER Ethan
  3. HAYTER Leo (Hagens Berman Axeon)
  4. HEIDUK Kim
  5. PLAPP Luke (1st at Australian Road Nationals)
  6. SHEFFIELD Magnus (American)
  7. SWIFT Ben

Intermarché - Circus - Wanty

  1. BYSTRØM Sven Erik
  2. JOHANSEN Julius
  3. PAGE Hugo
  4. THIJSSEN Gerben
  7. SMITH Dion (transfer from Team BikeExchange - Jayco)

Jumbo-Visma (formerly Rabobank, in case you forgot)

  1. DENNIS Rohan
  2. GESINK Robert
  3. HOFSTEDE Lennard
  4. ROOSEN Timo
  5. VADER Milan
  6. VAN DIJKE Tim
  7. VAN EMDEN Jos

Movistar Team (Spanish telecommunications, which is ironic because, well, just watch)

  1. IZAGIRRE Gorka
  2. ERVITI Imanol
  3. JACOBS Johan
  4. ROMEO Iván
  5. SAMITIER Sergio
  6. MAS Lluís

Team DSM (From dsm.com “DSM is a global purpose-led, science-based company specializing in health and nutrition” so you tell me)

  1. HAMILTON Chris
  2. DINHAM Matthew (Team BridgeLane)
  3. BEVIN Patrick (transfer from Israel - Premier Tech)
  4. COMBAUD Romain
  6. MAYRHOFER Marius
  7. TUSVELD Martijn

UAE Team Emirates (self-explanatory)

  1. VINE Jay (transfer from Alpecin-Fenix, former Zwift Academy and now Grand Tour stage winner)
  2. BENNETT George
  3. HIRSCHI Marc
  4. BAX Sjoerd (transfer from Alpecin-Fenix)
  5. COVI Alessandro
  6. VINK Michael (Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling)

Team Arkéa Samsic

  1. COSTIOU Ewen (Côtes d’Armor-Marie Morin-U)
  2. LE BERRE Mathis (Côtes d’Armor-Marie Morin-U)
  3. GESBERT Élie
  5. LEDANOIS Kévin
  6. OWSIAN Łukasz
  7. VERRE Alessandro

EF Education-EasyPost (International education firm + Stripe-for-shipping-labels yCombinator valley darling = maximum pretentiousness and it comes in pink)

  1. BETTIOL Alberto
  2. HONORÉ Mikkel Frølich
  4. QUINN Sean (American)
  5. RUTSCH Jonas
  6. SCULLY Tom
  7. WIŚNIOWSKI Łukasz

BORA - hansgrohe (the kitchen you can’t afford)

  1. HINDLEY Jai
  2. HALLER Marco
  3. ARCHBOLD Shane
  4. LÜHRS Luis-Joe
  5. MEEUS Jordi
  6. SCHACHMANN Maximilian
  7. ALEOTTI Giovanni

Israel - Premier Tech (Unlike UAE and Bahrain, they have a Jewish guy. Ooo that sounded bad. I just mean in terms of cultural representation for a nationally-funded cycling team.)

  1. FROOME Chris
  2. IMPEY Daryl
  3. CLARKE Simon (2nd at Australian Road Nationals)
  4. STRONG Corbin
  5. JONES Taj
  6. BERWICK Sebastian
  7. GEE Derek (Israel Cycling Academy)

UniSA-Australia (Select squad of Australian elites from the UCI drug testing pool)

  1. EWAN Caleb (Lotto Dstny)
  2. DRIZNERS Jarrad
  3. FRISLIE Graeme
  4. LEAHY Conor
  6. MORIARTY James
  7. WALSH Liam


The Tour Down Under is known for its hot days and narrow GC margins (in the past ten races, the race has been won by an Australian seven times, all under 48” to 2nd). It’s a showcase for Australian talent and the picturesque southern coast (think Koala bears, bunches of hopping kangaroos, rolling hills of vineyards) and a welcome mental retreat from the late January drudgery of winter training in the Northern Hemisphere.



Caleb Ewen - after spending a portion of the European winter in Australia to train, he’s set to ride TdU followed by the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the UAE Tour to prepare for Milan—San Remo. His Schwalbe Classic criterium win on Saturday will give him a confidence boost going into the season.

Kaden Groves - fellow Australian finished third in the Schwalbe Classic.

General Classicification

Jai Hindley - Giro winner and Aussie fast uphill finisher

Ethan Hayter - fabulous reduced-sprint finisher which is what many stages in TdU end up being. Good prologue as well.

Michael Matthew - great reduced-sprint capabilities and can prologue too

Rohan Dennis - hasn’t raced yet in 2023 but could easily win the prologue and sit behind his Jumbo team for a few stages

Prologue - Tuesday 17th January

Super short (5.5km city loop on road bikes) technical parade through Adelaide. Expect Rohan Dennis, Ethan Hayter, or other TT specialists to have small advantages over the pure sprinters like Kaden Groves.

Stage 1 - Wednesday 18th January

Five times up Menglers Hill (4km, 3.7%) separates the sprinters from their shot at a win. Michael Matthews and his Jayco team will try to dislodge the pure sprinters from the train. Caleb Ewan survived the hilly Australian National Championship in fine form and Ethan Hayter is a good climber as well so the trio could have a shot from a reduced bunch. More.

Stage 2 - Thursday 19th January

Another reduced bunch sprint day with a decisive steep (2km, 7.8%) climb 22km from the line. Expect Ewan and Matthews to make the finale. More.

Stage 3 - Friday 20th January

This could be the Queen stage with Corkscrew Road (2.4km, 8.9%) appearing just before a short 6km descent to the finish. Corkscrew ramps up to over 15% in the middle so can provide a launching point for a GC attack. Daryl Impey won from a 20-man group in 2019, Simon Gerrans from a 10-man group in 2016, and in 2014 Cadel Evans stayed away to win solo. Bonus seconds on the line could be the difference in the overall. More.

Stage 4 - Saturday 21st January

Proper sprint day for the big boys. The finish is a little uphill but expect the powerhouses like Phil Bauhaus and Kayden Groves to have a shake at their first victory of 2023. More.

Stage 5 - Sunday 22nd January

The race ends with five times up Mount Lofty (1.5km, 6.5%) with the final time finishing on the peak. Pure climbers should have a go at it but the climb isn’t quite long or steep enough to free the punchers from a chance at the win and possibly GC. More.


What’s exciting about the Tour Down Under is that as the first race of the season anyone can win. Form is finicky coming out of the holidays and lots of guys haven’t spent much time down under before racing in the heat. Luke Plapp (+800) won the Australian National Championships but it’s unclear if he’ll get the nod for INEOS over Ethan Hayter (+375) who with Michael Matthews (+350) are the odds-makers favorites for the tour. Matthews needs to survive the prologue in a top spot and earn bonus seconds along the way in two of the three sprint days to have a chance up Mount Lofty. I think it’s more likely a climber has a bunch finish down Corkscrew and ends up trouncing the field up Lofty—think Jay Vine (+3400), Simon Yates (+1900) or Aussie longshots like Simon Clarke (+12600) or Jai Hindley (+15100). No matter the finish it’s always fun to see a GC between big guys like Matthews and little guys like Yates.

Don’t forget to make a Velogames team!

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