The prologue winner hopes he hands over the Herald Sun Tour leader's yellow jersey to teammate Chris Froome at Falls Creek.
Froome and Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) will be the headline acts in Thursday's stage one, featuring a climb of nearly 30km to the Falls Creek summit finish.
The stage could well decide this year's overall winner, with big time gaps certain.
After opening the tour with his win in the Wednesday evening prologue time trial, van Poppel will immediately revert to a domestique role and support Froome during Thursday's 174km stage.
Froome, van Poppel and the rest of Team Sky will duel with Chaves and his Orica-Scott teammates.
While Sky started the Tour a man down because of Owain Doull's illness, they remain a formidable lineup.
"I'm hoping I can give it (the yellow jersey) to Chris - tomorrow is a nice day for Chris and the team, so we go full for him," van Poppel said.
"I will be one of the first guys working for Chris (during the stage), which may be a bit strange with the yellow jersey.
"He will be ready - I see already that he's in good shape.
"It will be a nice fight with the Orica-Scott guys."
Froome finished 26th in the twilight prologue at Melbourne's Southbank, seven seconds behind van Poppel.
Chaves was another four seconds behind in 64th.
The Colombian has trained at Falls Creek and likes the climb.
He is coming off a second place overall last month at the Tour Down Under and, like Froome was prominent on Sunday near the end of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race.
"I like the climb, it's similar to one I have in Colombia ... it's really nice," Chaves said of Falls Creek.
"We will try to attack this climb.
"The form is good and in the Tour Down Under, there were good sensations, also in Geelong."