• Nathan Haas (2nd left) at the Katusha-Alpecin 2018 team launch. (Getty)Source: Getty
Australian Nathan Haas will make his debut for Katusha-Alpecin as its point man for the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under.
Cycling Central

Santos Tour Down Under
31 Dec 2017 - 8:20 AM  UPDATED 31 Dec 2017 - 8:25 AM

It will be the punchy Queenslander’s first race with the Russian flavoured and Swiss-registered outfit after two seasons with African team, Dimension Data.

The 28-year-old Haas, who finished fourth overall at the Santos Tour Down Under in January 2017, said he was excited about the prospect of leading his new team in his ‘home’ stage race.

“Every year it seems more and more of the riders are fighting to be at the season opener, so for me, I'm lucky, everybody wants to be at my home race!” Haas said. “It's seriously getting better, bigger and faster every year.

“The course for 2018, I believe, is going to show off the big fight between the Australian punchy riders. I predict a big showdown in Stirling.

Also rostered for the 13-21 January 2018 event are Tiago Machado, who finished third overall in the 2012 race, Portuguese compatriot Jose Goncalves and Colombian Jhonatan Restrepo who claimed the best young rider classification at the 2017 race.

Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Maurits Lamertink (NED) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN) round out Katusha-Alpecin's start list.

Katusha-Alpecin for the Santos Tour Down Under
Nathan Haas (AUS), José Goncalves (POR), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Maurits Lammertink (NED), Tiago Machado (POR), Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (COL) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN).