Men's team opens its 2019 schedule
Edu Prades, Lluís Mas to wear Blue colours in a race for the first time at WorldTour opener – race to end with an unprecedented hill-top finish at Willunga on Australia Day (Sunday 20).
For the ninth consecutive time since Telefónica started backing the squad in 2011, the Movistar Team will be travelling this weekend to Australia to race in the 21st Tour Down Under (UCI WorldTour), a six-stage event from Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 January, prefaced by the Down Under Classic criterium (Sunday 13) in Adelaide.
At the first race of the 2019 calendar, DS José Luis Arrieta will be conducting a seven-man lineup which includes Lluís Mas and Edu Prades, two of the four signings by Eusebio Unzué’s men’s team for this year. Also on the roster will be three regular names in previous TDU appearances: Jasha Sütterlin -who contested some of the 2018 race’s sprint finishes-, Jaime Castrillo -a stage Combativity award winner in his maiden pro race last season- and 2015 fifth-place GC finisher, also 6th in 2016, Rubén Fernández. The list, which features no less than six Spaniards, is completed by Rafa Valls and Héctor Carretero.
The route scheme for the Tour Down Under has been significantly changed for 2019, as the final criterium in Adelaide is replaced by the spectacular, dual climb to Willunga Hill (2.9km at 7%) on the last stage (Sunday 20), held on Australia Day. Stages will remain considerably short -none of them north of the 151km on day six-, with up to four sprint opportunities and another demanding climb to Corkscrew Road (2.5km at 9%) on Friday before Campbelltown’s finish.