Excitement always builds before the Tour Down Under, with the Australian stage race occupying a privileged position in the race calendar as the opening WorldTour event.

For many fans, the arrival of the TDU breaks the ‘fast’ of the winter off-season, and provides a chance to see riders in their fresh new kit.

The 2018 race comprises six stages from Tuesday January 16 to Sunday, January 21.

>>> Tour Down Under 2018: Latest news, reports and race info

Stage four from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill covers 151.5 kilometres, with an uphill finish that should decide the outcome of the race.

This year’s race features some of big names going for the general classification, including former winners Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), while Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is in the overall lead and could be able to cope with the relatively short three kilometre climb

Stage six on Sunday offers up a 90km circuit race around the streets of Adelaide, which will be suited to the sprinters, but also offers up time bonuses that Porte could chase if he still has ambitions of taking overall victory.