Geraint Thomas will make his professional debut with Team Barloworld in Australia.
The 20 year-old Welshman signed with Barloworld at the end of the 2006 season and his first race in the new Barloworld red and white jersey will be the Tour Down Under Criterium on Tuesday before starting the five-day Tour Down Under stage race on Wednesday.
Thomas was given a ride in the first international race of the season because he is in good form after spending six weeks in Australia before Christmas training with the Great Britain track squad.
?I?m really looking forward to making my debut and it?s nice that it?s in Australia,? Thomas told Cycling Weekly.
?It?s a different set-up and I?m still learning Italian but we?ve got a quality team because sprinter Fabrizio Guidi and Robert Hunter will also be riding.?
The Tour Down Under starts with a criterium on Tuesday in the centre of Adelaide and ends on Sunday after five days of racing. Stages go through the famous vineyards of the area and along the Southern Australia coast. Simons Gerrans (Ag2r) won the race in 2006 but will face stiff opposition from Adelaide-born Stuart O?Grady who is back with a strong CSC team as he tries to win his home race for a third time. Britain?s Jeremy Hunt will be riding for Unibet.com after spending the winter in Australia.