Will Clarke has no margin for error as he tries to retain the Jayco Herald Sun Tour lead.
Clarke won the prologue for the second year running on Wednesday night, beating rising star Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) by one second for the second year in a row.
Only five seconds separates the top 12 riders on general classification ahead of Thursday's first stage.
The 126km first stage starts and ends in Healesville, east of Melbourne.
"It would be nice to hang onto the jersey for a day or two, but we have to see how the race plays out," the Drapac rider said.
"It's such a short prologue, the time gaps aren't huge. Whoever wins (stage one) has a good chance of pulling on the leader's jersey.
"So we'll wait and see how the race is going, maybe try to put some guys up the road and defend our interests that way."
Clarke's win was a welcome boost for Drapac, a Melbourne-based team.
While Dutch teammate Peter Koning won a stage at last month's Tour de San Luis in Argentina, it was Drapac's first win in Australia this year.
"To win here, the Herald Sun Tour is our home race," Clarke said.
"It's a big goal and it means a lot to the team to win here."
Thursday's stage features a hill in the last 20km, but Clarke noted its effect will depend on how hard the stage is raced.
He said if a team wanted to force the pace, the finish could come down to a small bunch.