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Froome starts season at Herald Sun Tour

MELBOURNE (AFP) — Tour de France winner Chris Froome will launch his season Wednesday at Australia’s Herald Sun Tour. Froome told reporters on Tuesday that he’s looking for a “good test” to gauge his form.

“It’s been almost five months now since my last race so I’m not too sure what to expect,” said the Kenyan-born Briton.  “Training has gone well throughout the winter and I’ve had a good block of training down in Adelaide with some of the guys from the Tour Down Under.”

Australia’s oldest stage race starts on Sunday with a prologue through the heart of Melbourne before heading into the Victorian countryside, with a final run up and down Arthur’s Seat peak on the Mornington Peninsula.

Froome’s Sky Team start among the favorites to win. British road champion Peter Kennaugh won the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race last weekend. Froome and Kennaugh are enjoying the support of Colombian Sebastian Henao, Italian Salvatore Puccio and American rider Ian Boswell.

“I think we’ve got a great team here, a strong line-up of guys who can be competitive throughout the race,” Froome said. “With any luck we could be looking at the overall victory.”

Serious competition can be expected from Australia’s Orica-Green-EDGE team, which boasts Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans and rising sprint star Caleb Ewan, who won two stages of the Herald Sun Tour last year. Ewan also won the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under last month, as well as the People’s Choice Classic Criterium.

“I’d like to get at least one stage win here,” Ewan said. “There’s quick guys here so it’s not going to be easy. I know I’ve got good form and my speed’s there so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get another win here.”

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