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Track cycling debuts at Tour Down Under

Tourism

The South Australian festival of cycling will for the first time include a night of track cycling featuring the world’s best.

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Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur has realised a long held dream to bring track racing into the race he developed 21 years ago.

The move is the first major step towards a long-term goal of expanding the Tour Down Under festival to include all cycling disciplines.

Turtur, a former track cyclist who won gold in the 4000m Team Pursuit at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, said the new Advertiser Track Down Under event would give fans the chance to experience track cycling at the highest level in Australia.

“The Advertiser Track Down Under will challenge athletes in their best disciplines competing not only as individuals but representing their home state,” said Turtur.

The event, to be held at the Adelaide SuperDrome on Friday evening (January 11), will feature Australia’s best track endurance riders in eliminations, heartstarters and scratch races as well as a 1000m Madison Time Trial.

Champion sprinters Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton will headline the event.

“This is an opportunity to see South Australia’s own rainbow jersey wearing, World Sprint Champion Matthew Glaetzer and Commonwealth Games Champion Stephanie Morton going head to head with the best competitors from around Australia,” said Turtur.

Italy’s Elia Viviani and Denmark’s Michael Mørkøv have also signed up to race before they hit the road at the TDU.

Viviani, a track gold medallist at Rio 2016, used the Adelaide SuperDrome for his pre-event training in 2018 prior to claiming the third stage of the tour in Victor Harbor, his first of 18 wins throughout the season.

Deceuninck-Quickstep Teammate Mørkøv won silver at Beijing 2008, and is looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 with the return of his preferred Madison event.

“Elia and I are going to participate and we both very look forward to it,” Morkov said.

“We are both good track riders, we brought our own track bikes here and we are very happy that we get the opportunity to race against the Australian guys.”

Turtur said he wanted to bring even more disciplines in to the TDU but started with track cycling because he knew it well.

“Track cycling is a passion of mine so this is something I have tried to arrange for a number of years,” Turtur said.

He said having the Australian track cycling team based in Adelaide had made it possible and that the support of Simon Jones, the Performance Director at Cycling Australia, had made it a reality.

Jones said he got behind the idea because part of Cycling Australia’s vision is to bring back strong domestic racing that is entertaining and exciting to watch.

“The Adelaide SuperDrome is the home of Cycling Australia’s Performance Program, now called the Australian Cycling Team, we have an elite venue in its own right and we want to encourage as many cycling fans as possible to experience track cycling at its best,” he said.

Turtur said he was excited that the racing would give more people an opportunity to watch Glaetzer and Morton in action.

“To me it’s sad that not enough South Australians know that Matt and Steph are from South Australia,” he said.

“This is last opportunity to see Matt in the rainbow jersey before he defends his title.”

Turtur said the inclusion of top-level track racing at the TDU was not linked with the UCI’s Cycling 2020 vision of a unified World Championships of all five Olympic disciplines but he could see the value in bringing cycling together.

“People who come to TDU are also interested in other forms of cycling so our Festival of Cycling is there to celebrate the sport in all its forms,” he said.

Adelaide is an ideal place for an expanded championships or cycling festival, with a world-class velodrome, tested street and crit circuits, hundred of kilometres of mountain biking tracks and a city framed by parklands with BMX and Cyclocross tracks.

Turtur said these opportunities had spurred him to bring even more cycling to South Australia.

“The plan is to look at all disciplines of cycling, to look at different scenarios to develop in the future.”

The UCI sanctioned Women’s Tour Down kicked off today, with Stage 1 of the men’s event scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 15.

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