Caleb Ewan says he's uncertain about his form as he prepares to seek another blistering start to a new year.
The 21-year-old defending champion will again be favoured to win the 27th annual Mitchelton Bay Classic, a series of four criteriums in Victoria from 1 - 4 January, an event he has dominated on the way to establishing himself as a rising star on the world stage.
Ewan, who has twice won the series and won three of the four races last year, will have strong support from his Orica-GreenEDGE team in the form of lead-out man Mitch Docker and track star Alexander Edmondson, who is a new addition.
But his lead up has differed this time in the wake of an impressive debut season with Orica-GreenEDGE that yielded 11 victories and his grand tour debut .
"I want to win again but its just as important to get ready for the Australian summer races to follow," Ewan said.
"I don't know how my form is going to be because I haven't raced since the Vuelta a Espana.
"Usually I would have done some of the other criteriums in December so you have a rough idea of how you are going but I haven't raced any of those so it's difficult to know where I am at.
"My training hasn't really been for a one-hour long race, it's been more for the four and five hour races to come.
"It wouldn't surprise me if my form isn't quite as sharp as last year but obviously I am still there to try to go for the win."
Multiple track cycling world champion Edmondson joins ORICA-GreenEDGE in 2016 on a joint program with the national track team in the lead up to the Rio Olympics.
Team director Matt Wilson said Edmondson would benefit from the early experience in the team's sprint train alongside Ewan and Docker.
"Even without that experience working together, they are a pretty formidable trio in a sprint stage," Wilson said.
The trio will be joined in the team by endurance pair Luke Durbridge and newcomer Jack Haig.
Durbridge won the third criterium in Portarlington back-to-back in 2013 and 2014.