Cadel Evans has revealed he will miss the season-opening Tour Down Under for the second year in succession.
Evans' BMC Racing Team will take part in the week-long race around Adelaide but their team leader will stay on the sidelines as he looks to maximise his preparations ahead of the Tour de France.
As such, current world road champion Philippe Gilbert will be the man leading the line for BMC.
"I have good memories of this race," Gilbert, who won the King of the Mountains in 2008, told AAP.
"My first time was in 2004 (with FDJeux.com) with a lot of Australians - Baden Cooke, Matt Wilson and Mark Renshaw - so it was a very good experience. I won the young rider jersey, a stage and was fourth overall so it was very good experience for a 22-year-old rider.
"My winter training and preparation so far has been perfect. I saw the parcours (course) on the internet and it looks good for me so I will go there with some ambition and we also bring a great team.
"But for the first race, it's hard to know how you will really feel."