Tour Down Under - Cat. 2.3

Australia, January 18 - 23, 2000

Preview    Start list


  • Stage 1 - January 18th: Adelaide Street Race, 52.2 km
  • Stage 2 - January 19th: North Adelaide to Goolwa, 152 km
  • Stage 3 - January 20th: Glenelg to McLaren Vale, 184 km
  • Stage 4 - January 21st: Unley to Modbury, 136 km
  • Stage 5 - January 22nd: Gawler to Tanunda, 156 km
  • Stage 6 - January 23rd: Adelaide City Circuit, 96 km


It might be the city of Churches but a blast of fiery weather straight from hell may pose plenty of problems for the 96 strong field to contest the second Tour Down Under around Adelaide next week.

With the last four days above 36 degrees, and even hotter weather on the way, tour organisers are hoping a forecast cool change will allow the racing to heat up rather than the riders when the tour kicks off on Tuesday, January 18. Coming straight from the European winter, some of the biggest stars of road cycling have sweltered through a final week of preparations for what is essentially the first major contest of the new season.

The 2.3 category tour (up from 2.4 last year) will pit the likes of Tour de France green jersey winner Erik Zabel of team Telekom against last year's Tour de France yellow jersey holder Jan Kirsipuu, the Estonian champion now riding for the new AG2R Pervoyance team and another up and coming sprinter in Frenchman Jimmy Casper of La Francaise des Jeux.

But all local eyes will be on Credit Agricole leader Stuart O'Grady to see if the hometown hero can repeat his stunning victory from last year's inaugural event. O'Grady's bid for a second tour victory was dealt a severe blow last year when the back of his head received much the same, courtesy of a windscreen wiper wielding robber in France. The much publicised mugging left the former world champion with a fractured skull and a blood clot to the brain, the injuries putting him in hospital for some time. His recovery was further complicated by a seizure in Queensland in November but he showed glimpses of returning to top form this week after dead heating for first in the Melbourne to Sorrento Cup.

However, a punishing race schedule this weekend could work against him. He planned to return to Adelaide Friday in a bid to set an Olympic qualifying time in the 4,000 teams pursuit before returning to Victoria to ride the Australian road championships on Sunday. He was then to jump back on a plane again to return to Adelaide either Sunday or Monday to put the finishing touches to his tour preparation.

With O'Grady down on form and openly admitting to lacking about 3,000 kilometres in training this year compared to 1999, the favourite for local honours could be Robbie McEwen who will head up his new Dutch based Farm Frites team this year after missing out on a start last January. McEwen showed his sprinting class with a win over Zabel in the final stage of the Tour de France last year.

Working against him could be the lack of preparation his teammates have enjoyed in Adelaide, with the rest of the Farm Frites squad not arriving in South Australia until Saturday. Other Australians in with a chance of at least stage honours, include Commonwealth Games road champion and another Adelaide boy in Jay Sweet. Among the dark horses for overall honours are Michael Rogers of the ACT, Victoria's Jamie Drew and mountain bike star Cadel Evans.

This year the Australians not linked to European teams are split into just two groups, the Sunsmart Mitsubishi team and the United Water AIS team. Evans, Drew, Brett Aitken and Corey Sweet headline the Sunsmart Mitsubishi line-up while Rogers and Graeme Brown are the standouts in the United Water AIS group. Aitken, the tour points winner last year, could contend strongly for the jersey again this year after showing he had plenty of speed in the recent street race series in Victoria.

Of the Europeans watch out for there is the current Olympic games road champion Pascal Richard from the all-vegetarian Linda McCartney team along with veteran Jesper Skibby of Memory Card Jack and Jones who finished second to O'Grady last year.

The tour starts with a 52 kilometre street race on Tuesday before heading into the Adelaide Hills, and then down the Flurieau Peninsula to the seaside town of Goolwa on Wednesday in the first 152-kilometre road leg. This includes the infamous Checkers Hill king of the mountains.

Stage 3 on Thursday is the tour's longest at 185 kilometres, and takes the field from seaside Glenelg to Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, before returning to the southern vales wine district for a finish in McLaren Vale.

Stage 4 on Friday could provide an opportunity for someone to steal some time late in the day as the tour heads back into the Adelaide hills. Two king of the mountains towards the end of the stage could split the field and if a break forms on the second climb up Torrens Hill Road the twisting and fast descent to the finish could make it tough for the peleton to bring them back.

Stage 5 sees the riders in the Barossa Valley with 156 kilometres taking them from Gawler on the northern outskirts of Adelaide to Tanunda. Two climbs up the tough Menglers Hill could also prove decisive. Victory in this stage last year virtually confirmed O'Grady's overall win.

The final stage also returns to inner Adelaide but rather than using the old Formula One Grand Prix circuit organisers have opted for a course looping around Adelaide Oval and up Montefiore Hill. Not a tough climb but possibly enough to provide the impetus for an ambitious breakaway. The final lap will see the field sweep down the three lane King William Street in what should be the fastest finish of the tour.

Teams and Riders

Credit Agricole

1. Stuart O'Grady (Aus)
2. Marcel Gono (Aus)
3. Magnus Backstedt (Swe)
4. Anthony Langella (Fra)
5. Jerome Neuville (Fra)
6. Franck Pencole (Fra)
7. Frederic Finot (Fra)
8. Christopher Jenner (NZ)


9. Erik Zabel (Ger)
10. Kai Hundertmarck (Ger)
11. Steffen Wesemann (Ger)
12. Rolf Aldag (Ger)
13. Jan Schaffrath (Ger)
14. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita)
15. Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz)
16. Andrei Mizourov (Kaz)

Memory Card - Jack & Jones

17. Tristan Hoffman (Ned)
18. Bjarke Nielsen (Den)
19. Rene Jorgensen (Den)
20. Michael Sandstod (Den)
21. Mikael Kyneb (Den)
22. Allan Johansen (Den)
23. Jacob Moe Rasmussen (Den)
24. Jesper Skibby (Den)

Big Mat - Auber93

25. Guillaume Auger (Fra)
26. Stephane Berges (Fra)
27. Thierry Bourguignon (Fra)
28. Alexandre Chouffe (Fra)
29. Dominique Rault (Fra)
30. Carlos Da Cruz (Fra)
31. Jay Sweet (Aus)
32. Jeremy Hunt (GBr)

Ag2R - Decathlon

33. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est)
34. Andre Kivilev (Kaz)
35. Innar Mandoja (Est)
36. Ludovic Turpin (Fra)
37. Philippe Bordenave (Fra)
38. Laurent Estadieu (Fra)
39. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus)
40. Gilles Maignan (Fra)

Francaise Des Jeux

41. Jimmy Casper (Fra)
42. Bradley Mcgee (Aus)
43. Nicolas Fritsch (Fra)
44. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra)
45. Cyril Saugrain (Fra)
46. Nicolas Vogondy (Fra)
47. Sandy Casar (Fra)
48. Yvon Ledanois (Fra)

Saeco - Gaggia

49. Salvatore Commesso (Ita)
50. Massimiliano Mori (Ita)
51. Dario Pieri (Ita)
52. Torsten Nitsche (Ger)
53. Christophe Brandt (Bel)
54. Valentino China (Ita)
55. Alessandro Guerra (Ita)
56. Joeg Ludewig (Ger)


57. Michele Colleoni (Ita)
58. Bart Voskamp (Ned)
59. Fabio Sacchi (Ita)
60. Mateos Perez (Spa)
61. Rassano Brasi (Ita)
62. Mirko Crepaldi (Ita)
63. Enrico Cassani (Ita)
64. Pascal Herve (Fra)

Farm Frites

65. Johan Capiot (Bel)
66. Steven Kleynen (Bel)
67. Gerben Loewik (Ned)
68. Robbie Mcewen (Aus)
69. Koos Moerenhout (Ned)
70. Wim Vansevenant (Bel)
71. Martin Van Steen (Ned)
72. Remco Van Der Ven (Ned)

Linda Mccartney

73. Maximilian Sciandri (GBr)
74. Maurizio De Pascale (Ita)
75. Pascal Richard (Swi)
76. Tayeb Braikia (Den)
77. Bjornar Vestol (Nor)
78. Mathew Stephens (GBr)
79. Ben Brooks (Aus)
80. David Mckenzie (Aus)

Sunsmart - Mitsubishi

81. Scott Sunderland (Aus)
82. Cadel Evans (Aus)
83. Nick Gates (Aus)
84. Sean Sullivan (Aus)
85. Jamie Drew (Aus)
86. Brett Aitken (Aus)
87. Corey Sweet (Aus)
88. Brad Davidson (Aus)

United Water - AIS

89. Michael Rogers (Aus)
90. Allan Davis (Aus)
91. Scott Davis (Aus)
92. Baden Cooke (Aus)
93. Nick Brown (Aus)
94. Brett Lancaster(Aus)
95. Luke Roberts (Aus)
96. Graham Brown (Aus)