• Nathan Haas, Esteban Chaves and Cgris Froome are three to watch at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. (Getty)Source: Getty
The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race will be the first time this season that Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Esteban Chaves are in the same event.
Cycling Central

29 Jan 2017 - 6:26 AM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2017 - 8:34 AM

After coming close this month, Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) face top-quality opposition as they aim for a big win in Geelong.

Gerrans and Haas are among the favourites on Sunday for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race.

The event has achieved WorldTour status for its third edition and has attracted a strong field and will be broadcast on Network 7.

It is the first race this year to feature three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky), Australian Richie Porte (BMC) and Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) on the same start list.

Porte dominated Adelaide's Tour Down Under earlier this month and Chaves was second, while the Cadel Evans race is the first major hitout of the year for Froome.

Froome, Porte and Chaves are all top-quality climbers who excel in the three-week Grand Tours, such as the Tour de France.

Aggressive Tour route set for 2017
Tour de France organisers announced a dynamic and interesting route for the 2017 edition of the race and a mountain stage for the women's La Course.

The race ends with three loops of a 20km circuit at Geelong that features the short but steep Challambra Crescent climb.

Evans said on Saturday he hopes to see Froome, Porte and Chaves, a potential Tour de France podium this year, battling at the front of the race on the last Challambra climb before the finish.

"I'm hoping, I'm not going to bet my life on it, but I'm pretty sure we're going to have a pretty good chance of seeing what might be the podium of the Tour de France away, solo, over the top of Chalambra on the last lap," Evans told AAP.

"Richie and Chris are so keen, they really want to win.

"Chaves, I think, has some things to amend after the Tour Down Under and, after racing at the Tour, he's going to be primed, ready to go.

"So potentially, it could be a really, really super day and a super race."

Gerrans and Haas are more all-rounders who are well-suited to the 174km Cadel Evans course.

After recovering from illness over the Christmas period, Gerrans was runner-up to shock winner Miles Scotson (BMC) at the Australian road championships and Haas was third.

Haas then narrowly missed out on third place overall at the Tour Down Under, with compatriot Jay (Bora-Hansgrohe) McCarthy snatching the last podium place from him on the final day.

McCarthy is another rider to watch on Sunday, with race director Scott Sunderland also nominating Belgians Jan Bakelants (AG2R) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) among his favourites.

On Saturday, Dutch rider Annamiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) sprinted clear of four other breakaway riders to claim the women's race.

Van Vleuten wins Deakin Women's Race
Orica-Scott completed the Australian summer of cycling season in dominant fashion after Annemiek Van Vleuten claimed the Deakin Elite Women’s Race at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong.