Michael Woods will lead EF Education First at the 2019 WorldTour’s kickoff at the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia starting January 15 in North Adelaide. The Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, January 10 to 13, will feature three Canadians, including Sara Bergen leading Rally.

In 2016, Rusty Woods made his debut for what was Cannondale Pro Cycling Team at the Tour Down Under, where he impressed with fifth place on GC following third place to Richie Porte and Sergio Henao on legendary Willunga Hill. Last year, his first race was the WorldTour Abu Dhabi Tour, where he placed 19th.

EF Education First, the only WorldTour team yet to release its 2019 kit, will send a squad including three Australians and a Kiwi. On Wednesday, EF unveiled its alternative event calendar. The outfit has not revealed which of these events Woods will be entering, nor which Grand Tours he will contest.

The six stage Santos Tour Down Under ends on Willunga Hill this year; can new Trek-Segafredo signing Richie Porte win atop the hill for the sixth consecutive time? Porte isn’t the only rider racing with a new team in 2019: Caleb Ewan has already been winning with Lotto-Soudal, Rohan Dennis will wear a Bahrain-Merida kit and reigning Amstel Gold champion Michael Valgren lines up for Dimension Data. CCC Team will contest its first race as a WorldTour team.

The Women’s Tour Down Under begins with a stage likely to go to a sprinter in Birdwood before two days that end with uphill finishes. A criterium in Adelaide caps off the 2.1-rated competition.

Bergen leads the way for Rally, with compatriot Gillian Ellsay at her side. Alison Jackson lines up for Team TIBCO-SVB and is looking forward to the event.

Trek-Segafredo’s new women’s squad makes its debut. Italian Elisa Longo Borghini and Finn Lotta Lepistö lead the way.

The Women’s WorldTour doesn’t begin until March 9 with Strade Bianche. The men’s WorldTour stays in Australia for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 27 before a long gap to the UAE Tour February 24 to March 2.

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