It's the start of another long year for Australian pros who are fully aware of early season burnout and a form slump in Europe come April.
Simon Gerrans accepts his role on Orica-Scott is now different than "a couple of years ago" when he was still the Aussie team's best
The Australian points to the increased infrastructure on European roads as a reason why there are so many crashes.
After five seasons in the peloton, the Australia-based team has become a GC threat in grand tours and other stage races.
Australia's Simon Gerrans is forced to quit the Tour de France on Thursday after breaking his collarbone in a crash.
Mining services company Orica announced it will back the team through 2017 before ending its relationship with the Australian squad.
A few riders could upset favorite Alejandro Valverde in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but the weather could really throw a wrench into the mix.
Simon Gerrans endured a 2015 season filled with crashes and injuries, but he hopes his Tour Down Under win is a sign of things to come.
Andrew Hood's takeaways from this year's Tour Down Under
Gallery: Tour Down Under Stage 6