Eight of the world's top ranked professional cycling teams are set to contest the 2002 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under from January 15 to 20.
So far the teams for 2002 confirmed are Telekom, Mapei, Lotto-Adecco, Domo-Farm Frites, CSC-Tiscali, Saeco, Ag2r and Credit Agricole, boasting hometown hero Stuart O'Grady, attempting to win his third Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. These eight teams are all part of the first division of professional cycling, and all lined up in the 2001 Tour de France.
Riders so far confirmed include four reigning national champions. Belgian road champion, Ludovic Capelle will race with Ag2r while CSC-Tiscali has listed Danish champion, Jakob Piil, in their team. Reigning Italian road champion, Daniele Nardello will bolster Mapei's chances and Domo-Farm Frites, racing in the event for the first time, will include US champion, Fred Rodriguez.
Race Director Mike Turtur says Domo-Farm Frites is set to be one of the strongest teams as they have also confirmed they are sending Dutchman, Servais Knaven, the winner of the 2001 Paris-Roubaix Classic.
Tour Ambassador and defending champion Stuart O'Grady says the event has grown in popularity every year. "There has again been a big battle between teams to gain an invitation because it's the perfect way to kick off the season. But I'll have a full strength team behind me to help me secure my third win," said O'Grady.
O'Grady's 2001 victory came when he snatched the yellow jersey from German Telekom rider, Kai Hundertmarck, in a nail biting finish.
"After more than 600 kilometres it came down to the final day of racing and the thousands of people who lined the streets of Adelaide provided me with all the incentive I needed to get up for the win," says O'Grady.
Australia will be well represented in the event with three local teams taking part. There will be the United Water team, which is made up of Australian Under 23 national squad riders, and the Australian Institute of Sport team. Sydney Olympic gold medallist, Brett Aitken, and fellow South Australian Patrick Jonker will head a team of homegrown talent in the University of South Australia line-up.
Launching the 2002 event today Premier Rob Kerin said that not only does the event showcase the world's best in South Australia, it also showcases the best of South Australia to the world.
"It highlights how well we do things in South Australia, creating new and outstanding major events that capture international attention. A lot of that success has got to do with how we so enthusiastically embrace major events" he said.
"Television coverage of the event will be broadcast to more than 80 countries worldwide with a potential audience of 780 million, giving us a fantastic opportunity to show the world what a great place we are to visit.
"On top of that, an estimated half a million locals and visitors will line the various routes to witness some of the best international cycling can offer."
The Premier said that the three new stage routes for the 2002 JCTDU will provide a boost for tourism in these regions.
"Visitors to Hahndorf, for example, will be able to experience the start of Stage 2 then spend a few hours touring the town before again cheering on the field as it comes back through Hahndorf on the way to the Strathalbyn finish.
"Spectators for the 149km Stage 3, Willunga to Willunga, will be able to enjoy a day of racing, wine, rolling hills and silver sand as the field races entirely within the City of Onkaparinga," said Premier Kerin.
The cyclists will race 733 km over six days. Race organisers will soon announce the final team to make up the field of 96.
For detailed information on the Tour Down Under, please visit the official race website - www.tourdownunder.com.au. The site, designed by Cyclingnews, will be regularly updated as the race approaches.
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a España (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio Città di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
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