Herald Sun Tour
|Local name(s)||Jayco Herald Sun Tour|
|Competition||UCI Oceania Tour (2.1)|
|Race director||John Trevorrow|
|Editions||64 (as of 2017)|
|First winner||Keith Rowley (AUS)|
|Most wins||Barry Waddell (AUS) (5 wins)|
|Most recent||Damien Howson (AUS)|
The Herald Sun Tour is an Australian professional bicycle race held in Melbourne and provincial Victoria, sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The first tour was held in October 1952 as a six-day event. It is now held annually over five days in February. It is named after the Herald Sun, Melbourne's only daily tabloid newspaper. It was originally known as the Sun Tour after The Sun News-Pictorial, and changed its name when The Sun News-Pictorial merged with The Herald in 1990.
In 1952 the first general classification winner was Keith Rowley, a Maffra sheep farmer, in a time of 42 h 57 min 55 s. The first King of the Mountain and Sprint champion was Jack (John) McDonough from Coburg.
Australian cyclists dominated the first 30 editions of the race, before its status rose and began attracting overseas stars. By the year 2000, the race had shifted to October and Australia's cyclists racing in Europe began to compete in the race. The resulting rise in the event's standard saw the race become rated by the UCI for the first time in 2005. Several notable Australian cyclists have won the General classification including Stuart O'Grady in 2008, Baden Cooke in 2002, Neil Stephens in 1986, and Russell Mockridge in 1957.
The 2004 race was conducted from 14 to 24 October 2004 and involved 85 cyclists in seventeen teams of five. Thirteen stages were completed with a total distance of 1110.7 km, 119 intermediate sprints and 37 hill climbs, including the two category one climbs of Mount Baw Baw and in the Otway Ranges. Swedish rider Jonas Ljungblad won the General classification in the time of 26 h 39 min 55 s. Karl Menzies won the sprint classification and Phillip Thuaux won the Mountains classification.
After the 2009 race, the organisers of the Herald Sun Tour proposed moving the race from its traditional October date to February, with no edition in 2010. Cycling Australia approved the move, but in the face of opposition from the UCI, the plans never came to fruition. In the end, the 2010 race was "held over" due to the 2010 UCI Road World Championships being held in Geelong and Melbourne, and the race returned to the calendar in October 2011. The UCI accepted a change of date the following year, with a January 2013 date instead of October 2012, but downgraded the race from 2.1 to a National Event, preventing most professional teams from across the world from taking part.
The next edition of the Tour was held from 5–9 February 2014, and regained a UCI 2.1 ranking, permitting top level trade teams to again compete. Due to numerous bushfires across Victoria the last stage of the race was cancelled, with Orica–GreenEDGE rider Simon Clarke declared the winner.
The 63rd edition of the Tour got a huge profile boost when reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome of Team Sky confirmed he would be starting his 2016 season at the event, having previously participated in 2008 with the Barloworld team where he finished 4th overall. Froome won the overall title on the final stage on Arthurs Seat, making him the first defending Tour de France champion to win the race, with teammate Peter Kennaugh finishing second. He also took the mountains classification.
- SBS Cycling Central, "Date change for Jayco Herald Sun Tour", 24 February 2010, , accessed 30 May 2011
- The Age, "Herald Sun Tour bid appears doomed", 23 January 2010, , accessed 30 May 2011
- Leo Schlink, "2011 Jayco Herald Sun Tour back with a bang", The Herald Sun, 25 March 2011, , accessed 30 May 2011
- "Gerrans questions lack of UCI ranking for Jayco Herald Sun Tour", Velonation, , accessed 23 December 2012
- http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/road/news/51277/herald-sun-tour-to-regain-uci-status "Herald Sun Tour to regain UCI status", SBS Cycling Central, 16 September 2013, accessed 17 September 2013
- "Howson wins 2017 Herald Sun Tour". cyclingnews.com. 5 February 2017.
- "Chris Froome wins Jayco Herald Sun Tour". cyclingnews.com. 7 February 2016.
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