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Cadel Evans wore the leader's jersey at the 2014...

Evans’ farewell highlights field Down Under

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and his career farewell highlights a strong field for the WorldTour opener at the Santos Tour Down Under in January

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and his farewell professional race will be the primary focus of the 2015 Santos Tour Down Under, held January 20-25 in Adelaide.

The 37-year-old Evans will put an end to his career on home roads. He’ll race the Tour Down Under, and then the Great Ocean Road Race on February 1 to conclude his career, which was historic as became the first Australian to win the Tour de France, in 2011.

“The team will be working hard for Cadel to support him to do his best,” said BMC sport director Fabio Baldato in a release. “The course will be challenging, but I think he can perform well just one more time.”

Last year, Evans won a stage at the Tour Down Under, but ended up losing the overall title by just one second to Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) on time bonuses.

Gerrans, however, will not be back to defend his title. He broke his collarbone in a mountain bike training crash last week, and will not race in Europe until spring.

Despite Gerrans’ absence, the 2015 WorldTour opener features a strong field. Joining Evans at BMC Racing will be promising Aussie talent Rohan Dennis, who will use the TDU to kick-start his season ahead of a run at the hour record early in 2015. American Peter Stetina will also be racing in Australia for the first time of his career.

“I’ve never raced in Australia, so I am excited about that,” Stetina said in a team camp earlier this month. “It will be exciting to be part of Cadel’s goodbye group, then I return to Europe for the spring races. California is a big goal for me, so I can build my fitness in those races.”

Other big names expected to line up in Adelaide include Richie Porte (Sky), Mick Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Lars Boom (Astana), Ryder Hesjedal and Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Dumoulin and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), and Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol).

The Santos Tour Down Under runs from January 17-25 on the roads in and around Adelaide, Australia.