Article submitted by twitter user @cyclingbolar

The Herald Sun Tour kicks off in just over an hour with a 1.6 prologue at Southbank.

Crownbet will be offering markets during the 5 day race.

Prologue: Southbank – Southbank

Gaps will be small, so it won’t factor into the GC at all, but an opportunity for someone to wear the leaders jersey. At 1.6km it suits the sprinters and track riders who are used to short sharp efforts. Alex Frame ($5) (Trek-Segafredo) was 3rd on a 2.1km course here last year.

Mitchelton-Scott have a few options with Alex Edmondson ($6), Cameron Meyer ($10), Michael Hepburn ($13). All are current and former track riders and all have the ability to win this. The latter was 4th last year.

JLT Condor had two riders on the podium last year and will look for track star Ed Clancy $7 to deliver them the result here.

Another track rider who can hold this effort is Aqua Blue Sports  Shane Archbold ($81) and Lasse Norman Hansen ($13). 

Local team Bennelong Swiss Wellness will have a big say in the outcome with numerous options as well. This should be right up the alley for sprinter Steele Von Hoff ($21). Anthony Giacoppo ($6) was 6th last year and Cameron Bayly ($7.50) also finished top 10 whilst Joseph Cooper ($6) was 12th.

Israel Cycling Academy will look to Krists Neilands ($8). Callum Scotson ($13) for the Australian National Team cannot be underestimated either.

Longer shots include Michael Vink ($51) for the new Brisbane Continental Team is an outside chance as well as Cyrus Monk ($81) & Theodore Yates ($81) Drapac EF Cycling, although it’s probably too short for Monk, he is reported to be in brilliant form and it should suit Yates.

Predictions 

  1. Steele Von Hoff
  2. Ed Clancy
  3. Michael Hepburn

Stage 1: Colac – Warrnambool (161.6km)

Stage 1 will be a day for the sprinters. Steele Von Hoff (Bennelong Swiss Wellness) will go in as a massive favourite to take the stage. Alex Frame & Koen De Kort (Trek-Segafredo), Zakkari Dempster (Israel Cycling Academy), Theodore Yates (Drapac EF Cycling), Brad Evans (Mobius Bridge-Lane), Sean Whitfield (Olivers Real Food) will all look to challenge.

Stage 2: Warrnambool – Ballarat (198.6km)

Stage 2 should be a reduced bunch sprint, with 5km of descent after climbing Mt Buninyong. It should be ridden at a high speed which will be hard for attacks to occur and that will keep some of the stronger sprinters in the bunch. Riders will try and get away though, look for Joseph Cooper (Bennelong Swiss Wellness), Cameron Meyer or Damien Howson (Mitchelton Scott), Cyrus Monk (EF Drapac), Thomas Robinson (Brisbane Continental Team) to be some of the riders on the attack.

Stage 3: Mitchelton Winery – Lake Mountain (218.0km)

Lake Mountain should be where the race will be won. The first part of the climb is tough, but it gets easier for the last half of the climb, but after 218km of racing, it will be anything but easy. Mitchelton-Scott’s Esteban Chaves will be the unbackable favourite for the stage but team-mate Damien Howson who won the queen stage last year up Falls Creek will add for a nice one-two punch. Chris Harper (Bennelong-Swiss Wellness) can’t be discounted after riding extremely well in the Nationals and Nathan Earle (Israel Cycling Academy), Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Ian Bibby (JLT Condor) will also look to make an impact on this stage.

Stage 4: Kinglake – Kinglake (152.1km)

Finally we have the Kinglake circuit from last year to finish the race off. Look to the names from stage 3 for this stage.

After looking at the stages, the favourites for the race have already been mentioned.

Esteban Chaves has opened up at $1.55 to take out this race. Damien Howson ($13) is Mitchelton-Scott’s other chance and defending champion. Ruben Guerreiro ($11), will be Trek-Segafredo’s leader.

For the Israel Cycling Academy Nathan Earle ($34) will be their leader and for JLT Condor, Ian Bibby ($23) will lead there.

Jeroen Meijers ($23) will lead the Dutch Roompot team.

Larry Warbasse ($41), a Tour de Suisse stage winner last year should be Aqua Blue Sports protected rider but Calvin Watson ($23) 20th in 2014 will probably be in better form at the start of the season.

Chris Harper (no odds given) will be Bennelong Swiss Wellness leader and they will be looking for him to finish on the podium.

Mobius BridgeLane has Jesse Coyle ($17), Drapac EF Cycling will be looking to Jesse Featonby ($23) and Cyrus Monk. 

Predictions

In the end though, it’s hard to look past Esteban Chaves who looked in brilliant form in Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

  1. Esteban Chaves
  2. Chris Harper
  3. Ruben Guerreiro