McQuaid endorses Tour Down Under, rules out location change
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Friday, January 22, 2010

McQuaid endorses Tour Down Under, rules out location change

by Conal Andrews at 8:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 

UCI President Pat McQuaid has poured cold water on talk that the Tour Down Under could move to Melbourne or its state Victoria, saying that the race should remain in South Australia.

Recent rumours suggested that a bid could be entered to entice the race to head east but, speaking to AdelaideNow before today’s fourth stage, McQuaid implied the race would remain where it was.

"They've already got four years - why would you change it?" he said, referring to the extension of the ProTour status secured by the state government until 2013.

"Look around you. Why would you take it away from here?" he added, indicating the huge crowd support and strong atmosphere the race enjoys.

Asked again if the race's future in SA was assured he said: "Yeah. That's guaranteed."

Race organiser Mike Turtur has close ties to the UCI, and is currently a member of its Management Committee. McQuaid has long held up the race as an example of the globalisation of cycling; it was the first event outside Europe to earn ProTour status, and has enjoyed the support of many big names in the sport.

Apart from Australian riders like world champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Robbie McEwen (Katusha), Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank) and last year’s winner Allan Davis (Astana), the 2010 edition also features a host of top riders from Europe. These include Tour de France winners Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) and Oscar Pereiro (Astana) plus 2009 Vuelta victor Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).

2008 champion André Greipel (HTC Columbia) currently holds the leader’s jersey heading into the final two days of competition. He has taken three stage victories thus far, and has a 20 second lead over closest rival McEwen.

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