A history of the Tour Down Under

A reader’s been in touch with the history of the Tour Down Under in Australia and I enjoyed the read so much I asked if I could put it on here.

Many races begin for a reason, famously the Tour de France started because a newspaper wanted to create an event so impressive that readership would soar. Paris-Roubaix began because some industrialists in Northern France wanted to publicise the velodrome in Roubaix. A more recent addition to the calendar, the Tour Down Under has its genesis in politics, promotion and even a beer boycott was involved. Here’s the story…

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Pirate racing

A strict application of the rules would see the top riders banned from the upcoming Jayco Series in Australia and forbid Britain’s top teams from competing in their domestic Tour Series races. Hopefully it won’t come to this but here’s the explainer…

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Greenedge registered as an Italian team

With the list of teams for 2012 in place, several squads are registered in surprising places. New Australian team Greenedge stands out at first as it is listed as an Italian team, see the screengrab image above.

But if that sounds odd, the Farnese Vini team seems to be registered in an empty plot of land in a north London suburb.

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100 days until 2012 season

Tour Down Under

There’s 100 days until the 2012 cycling season starts with the Tour Down Under on Sunday 15 January 2012. It’s just a round number but us humans seem to like them.

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Many more readers come to this blog during the week as opposed to the weekends. So in case you missed some things over the weekend, here are a few short items to catch up on.

Green edge jersey

Greenedge will unveil their new jersey but last night there was a storm in teacup over the design. The image comes via Mark Beretta. The design certainly doesn’t look inspiring but I don’t think it’s the real jersey. A well-informed correspondent has emailed to say the design isn’t finished and as a couple of others pointed out, the team is set for a proper launch on the eve of the Tour Down Under.

Taste is always subjective but when designing a jersey, it’s not just how cool it looks at the café stop. It must be visible, both when racers look for team mates but also for TV viewers on helicopter shots. Visibility and identification are what matter, only yesterday in the Vuelta and the GP Plouay I heard TV commentators getting Sky and Garmin-Cervélo mixed up thanks to their black kit. As you probably know the job of a commentator isn’t easy, with images on a small monitor but at the same time they’re broadcast pros. If they can’t spot the difference, how can an average viewer? Each false reference to the team is a valuable loss of publicity.

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Green Edge in World Tour?

Bannan Greenedge

New Aussie team Green Edge is patiently naming its riders. In a story on cyclingnews.com, it appears they are aiming for a full house of 28 riders and so far they have confirmed 11 riders. They’re Travis Meyer, Cameron Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Stuart O’Grady, Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke all Aussies. Plus Canadian Svein Tuft, Eritrean Daniel Teklehaymanot and a trio of Dutchmen in Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld and Jens Mouris.

Sneaky manager Shane Bannan says “there’s no point in looking at this group or any future signings for a headline act“. Some solid riders there but less than 300 ranking points in total, meaning if they were in the World Tour today they’d rank lower than Vacansoleil, Ag2r and Quick-Step. Based on this you’d be forgiven for thinking the team is planning a modest start.

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Rider recruitment and nationality

Cadel Evans Aussie
This guy could be from Australia

One rider agent has denounced the “dictature of UCI points” when it comes to teams hiring riders. I’ve long suggested these ranking points are important, to the point of twisting incentives within the sport. But teams will recruit for other factors too. Obviously they want to hire riders capable of winning, or if not then good helpers. There are several other factors at play here. But one is nationality. Let’s take a look.

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Red faces for Green Edge?

The Australian headline

Stuey has wanted to be a part of this project since we first went public with wanting to put a team at the Tour de France, back in Adelaide last January… …We’ll be rolling out more big-name signings in the days and weeks ahead.

That’s the headline screengrab plus a quote from an article in The Australian, the biggest selling-newspaper Down Under. Only it seems to be premature at best.

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GreenEdge – the trail goes cold

You might remember the suggestions on The Inner Ring that new Aussie team Green Edge Cycling might have been resorting to the use of secret pre-contracts with riders. Time for an update. I’ve been in contact with the team’s backers and this has been denied in clear terms. But in public the riders linked to … Read more