Defending champion’s opening warning

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Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott), Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5) and Danielle King (Cylance).

Warren PartlandThe Advertiser

THE field for the Women’s Tour is bracing for an explosive opening stage on Saturday with the challenging final 30km tipped to have a massive influence on deciding the champion.

Last year’s victor Katrin Garfoot’s words on the eve of the event reflect the importance of the final section of the 106km ride from Hahndorf to Meadows.

“If the stage has not been ripped apart (by then), it will be ripped apart then (final 30km),’ Garfoot said.

Her thoughts on the significance of the stage were echoed by Danielle King, Queen of the Mountain jersey winner last year and fourth overall, and South Australian star Annette Edmondson.

King made her debut in the race last year and described today’s ride as a tougher proposition following homework with her team Cylance.

Edmondson said final 30km was tough with a lot of climbing and dead open road.

“For me, it is about hanging in there and trying to survive,” she said.

Evidence of the demanding finish to the stage is the Queen of the Mountain points being up for grabs in Paris Creek, just 4km from Meadows.

Orica-Scott’s Garfoot will start favourite to defend her crown after putting her rivals on notice last week when she triumphed in the time trial and road race at the national championships in Victoria.

The German-born rider said each time she wore the green and gold jersey was a reminder of what she had achieved.

“I’ve settled down after the national titles, there has been only one easy day since,” Garfoot said.

While competing in the Tour enabled King to escape the harsh British winter, she talked of the huge benefits of quality training in Adelaide as she prepared for the long season.

King, a track gold medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, was highly critical of the selection process after being overlooked for Great Britain’s Rio 2016 road race team.

“I was obviously disappointed but I had to get on with it and look to the future,” King said. “I had my first full season on the road and it was good.

“I’ll fully focus on the road this year and see what I can do. I did the Tour last year and it was a fantastic start to the season.

“It’s (come to Adelaide) something I’d love to every year. I’m a super competitive person and I want to see where I am at, I had a month completely off the bike after the world championships.”

There will be 17 teams in action in the four-stage Tour with 11 being international.

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