The last WorldTour race in Cadel Evans' legendary cycling career is also where Richie Porte hopes to keep rebuilding his battered confidence.

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

The two Australian stars are the main riders to watch at next week's Tour Down Under in and around Adelaide.

Evans and Porte come into the race with completely different motivations.

Evans, the only Australian to win the Tour de France, will retire on 1 February and is in the midst of a three-week farewell to the sport.

"I have to appreciate the enjoyment of racing, because I am not going to get any opportunities after February 1," Evans said.

A year after starting his season with great form in Adelaide, Porte is determined to atone after his European goals were wrecked by ill health.

It turned out that his win on the Tour Down Under's Queen stage at Willunga was the highlight of his entire year.

Porte returned to his Tasmanian home two months ago, sorted out his health problems and reloaded.

He made a big statement with the time trial win at last week's nationals - his first Australian title.

The front group marked Evans and Porte out of last Sunday's nationals road race, but it was still a good hitout for them and they will undoubtedly be prominent at the Adelaide Tour.

"My confidence last year took a fair old beating," Porte said at Saturday's
pre-race media conference.

"I thought it was going to be a little easier than it was.

"I came back to Tassie in November and I've done two good months ... you can count the nights I've had out on the piss on one hand.

"I'm very motivated this year ... I'm ready to step it up.

"I need to start believing I can win these races."

The blunt reference to alcohol prompted an amused admonishment from Evans about what to say in public.

"Let's not beat about the bush Cadel," Porte deadpanned in response.

The two are friends and Porte praised the 2011 Tour de France champion ahead of his retirement.

"He's going to be the best we've ever had," Porte said.

"I know how hard it is to go and win the Tour de France - I've been there with Bradley (Wiggins) and Chris (Froome) and it's not an easy thing to do."

The Tour week opens with the one-off People's Choice Classic late on Sunday afternoon in the Adelaide East End.

This will be the domain of sprint specialists such as new Australian champion Heinrich Haussler and German star Marcel Kittel.

Then the six-stage Tour starts on Tuesday.

While the second-last stage at Willunga next Saturday will, as always, decide the race, stage three also looms at critical.

It features a short, but brutish climb to a new finish at Paracombe in the Adelaide Hills.