The oldest stage race in Australia will for the first time include a women's race featuring a 123 kilometre stage in scenic Healesville on Tuesday and the concluding 1.6km time trial in the Melbourne CBD on Wednesday.
And Katrin Garfoot, Rachel Neylan (Movistar), Lauretta Hanson (United Health Care), Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman Supermint), Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon/SRAM) and Brodie Chapman (CBR Women's Cycling) will back up from Saturday's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race to make history with the Herald Sun Tour for the KordaMentha Real Estate - Australia team.
“We have a number of strong riders whose teams did not make it to Australia," Garfoot said, "so they were all looking for rides during the summer of cycling. I am pleased to be part of such a strong group.”
The 2017 Australian national road race champion said she is waiting to discuss strategy with the team before defining any goals for the UCI sanctioned two-stage tour.
"I just want to enjoy the race and maybe get a result. My individual plan will depend on team tactics which I don't know yet but I am sure we will be able to make it a hard race.
"We saw at the Tour Down Under that the national (UniSA) team were mixing it with (the) Europeans...who will have lost their jet-lag by now and adapted to the weather so we might not have that advantage any more."
Catch the highlights of the women's race on SBS Wednesday 31 January 2018 from 1630 - 1730 AEDT and On Demand at Cycling Central.
The bronze medallist in the ITT at the 2017 road world championships has her eyes set on the 1.6 kilometre ITT stage which rolls out from Alexandra Gardens.
"That will be amazing!" Garfood said. "We have been waiting for an opportunity like this in such a great local with so many spectators."
But she'll also have one eye on the 2017 ITT world champion Annemiek van Vleuten and her Mitchelton Scott teammate 2018 women's Tour Down Under victor Amanda Spratt.
"Mitchelton-Scott are always a strong team," Garfoot said of her alma mater. "They had a good Tour Down Under and I am sure they will be a challenge once again. For the other teams, we will have to see how fit they are."
KordaMentha Real Estate - Australia: the men's team
Selectors have opted for young talent in the form of track world champion and 2016 Olympic silver medallist Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-BikeExchange), Michael Rice (Hagens Berman Axeon), Reece Tucknott (Drapac–EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team), Matt Ross and InForm Tineli trio James Whelan, Lionel Mawditt and Patrick Lane.
22-year-old Rice bagged a stage win and fifth overall at the San Dimas stage race in California last year on debut with his pro-conti team as well as a stage win at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
26-year-old Lane brings wisdom and his 2016 Grafton to Inverell victory and third place at the national road championships of the same year.
Watch daily highlights of the men's race at 1630 - 1730 AEDT from Thursday 1 February on SBS and On Demand at Cycling Central.
LIVE: watch the final stage live on SBS Viceland and streaming at Cycling Central from 1300 - 1600 AEDT, Sunday 4 February.