Herald Sun Tour organiser says big interest from WorldTour teams in upgraded event
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Herald Sun Tour organiser says big interest from WorldTour teams in upgraded event

by VeloNation Press at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Race returns to UCI calendar, race to take place in early February

Jayco Herald Sun TourHerald Sun Tour race director and three-time winner John Trevorrow anticipates a big jump in level in the race next February, saying that there is a big interest from top level teams staying on after the Santos Tour Down Under and taking part in the event.

All of the WorldTour teams will be present at the earlier event and the fine weather conditions at the same time Europe and the US are in winter is preferable in building form.

“The response from those WorldTour Teams and riders we have spoken to about the potential for a February Herald Sun Tour has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Trevorrow, while announcing the regained UCI ranking and the new race date.

“Many are keen to extend their summer racing and training in Australia before they return to Europe for the spring Classics and they are already expressing a strong desire to participate.”

“We will now formally target some key WorldTour teams and look forward to confirming the start list and the Tour route as soon as we can.”

After being won by Bradley Wiggins in 2009, the following year’s edition due to plans to move it from the previous October slot to February 2011. The planned edition did not take place, however, and the race was held instead in October of that year. Nathan Haas triumphed and secured a contract with Garmin-Sharp afterwards.

The following year, the UCI allowed the calendar move from October 2012 to early January 2013 but refused to give the shortened three day event a world ranking. At the time Trevorrow referred to ‘paranoia in South Australia,’ saying that he believed the organisers of the Santos Tour Down Under had lobbied for the downgrade of the race after it moved to the same month.

The race director of the Santos Tour Down Under, Mike Turtur, was Oceania president and a UCI management committee member until just before than point, leading to criticism that the two positions created a conflict of interest.

Turtur had expressed his opposition to the race’s move to January, the same month as the event he organised. He has since been replaced as Oceania president and on the UCI management committee by Tracey Gaudry.

Now, regaining its 2.1 ranking, the Herald Sun Tour will be able to accommodate the big pro teams.

The 2014 event will run from Wednesday 5th February to Sunday 9th, one month later than this year. It will overlap with the new Tour of Dubai, which is expected to take place from February 5th to 8th.

The Herald Sun Tour’s organising committee chair Tom Salom said he was thrilled that the UCI Road Commission had agreed to the new dates and world ranking status.

“As an iconic event in Australian cycling we congratulate the UCI in sharing our ambitions to not only keep the Herald Sun Tour alive, but see it prosper,” he stated.

“The return to UCI 2.1 level status will enable the participation of the international WorldTour teams and international riders who will once again mixed it with the best Australian domestic teams.

“It’s the perfect combination for the event that has seen the likes of 2011 winner Nathan Haas move from his domestic team to the global stage.”

According to Gaudry, the race has a very important role to play as regards cycling in the region. “As we have seen over many years the Herald Sun Tour is a crucial step in the development pathway, particularly for riders from Australia and New Zealand, but also from Asia and even Africa in recent years,” she said.

“For national and continental teams to be able to ride alongside the WorldTour teams and riders provides a great opportunity and that mix is what makes the Herald Sun Tour a crucial component of the global cycling calendar.”

She added that the date change and restoration of world ranking status were both supported by the UCI road commission, and that she saw the development as a beginning to rebuilding the Oceania Tour.

The route of next year’s event will be announced in the next few weeks. Calvin Watson (Jayco VIS Apollo) was the 2013 victor.


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