Tour Down Under

15 Jan

The Tour Down Under kicks off the 2011 UCI Pro Tour season.  Hoorah!

The Tour Down Under is also the last bike race outside the U.S. for legend, Lance Armstrong.  Because of that the race is getting more coverage than in previous years – although that was also true when Armstrong rode in the TDU in 2009 when he started his comeback.  At any rate, we the viewers and fans of professional cycling, are the beneficiaries of this increased interest.  Thank you Lance.

Although I don’t need any special reason to watch and enjoy professional bike racing, I have to tell you an even better reason to watch the TDU besides Armstrong’s swan song, will be the duel between sprinters, Mark Cavendish, HTC-High Road and former teammate, Andre Greipel, now riding with Omega Pharma-Lotto.  Greipel has won two Tours Down Under, in 2010 and 2008.  Both men are elite sprinters, past (competitive) teammates and for the first time, we will get to see them race against each other.

It has been reported in the past that there was no love lost between Greipel and Cavendish, but to add fuel to the fire, former Cavendish lead out man, Adam Hanson, is now riding for Greipel’s team.  The competition will be tense and the viewers will get to enjoy what no doubt will be fierce sprints between the two and their teams.

My personal hope is that Robbie McEwen, now with Team Radio Shack, will be able to take advantage of the personal rivalry between Cavendish and Greipel and win at least one stage.

Another bonus, it just gets better and better doesn’t it – is we get to see the new teams, and see which riders are on which teams (it changes year to year just like all other sports)  plus the new kits (uniforms) and bikes.

The fun starts tomorrow with the Cancer Council Classic, a 51 km criterium race.  Stage One of the Tour Down Under happens Tuesday, with the final day of racing next Sunday, January 23rd.

  *If you are new to following professional bike racing, you might find my Tour de France Primer helpful.  Different tour – but basically the same strategy.

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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