With freezing temperatures and snow forecast for the weekend, wouldn't it be great to get the shorts on and be riding in sunnier climates!

The pro road season is underway this past weekend with the Tour Down Under. Now in its 15th edition, this race has established itself as a permanent fixture on the road calender.

It's easy to see why the riders like to open the year with this event.

Despite the long haul flight for the European riders to get to south Australia, great weather, great temperatures, wide open roads, good surfaces, terrific scenery and great food will make it all worthwhile.

I have not been as far south as Adelaide where the tour starts,nor have I visited Australia in their summer, but my experiences of riding in Oz were just as described.

Once I found a bike to ride, (which was not easy on the north Queensland coast) I enjoyed long sunny miles riding (on our side of) the road, along busy, wide, rolling coastal routes between Cairns and Port Douglas.

Turning inland towards Kurranda, I faced some long winding climbs but was rewarded with stunning views out across the north Great Barrier Reef and an ice cold Irn Bru (seriously!) in a cafe in Kurranda. Once refreshed, it was a fantastic, long, fast, flowing descent back towards the coast, passing a few cars on the way.

I was on holiday with my family, visiting my brother who has lived in Oz now for nearly 40 years, not opening my season account in a major stage race but riding in Oz was great fun.

The new season is always interesting with the new teams, new riders, transfers through the winter, I'm sure I'll not be alone in watching the race unfold.

Who do you fancy for this one?