Tour Down Under

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Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under logo.svg
Race details
RegionSouth Australia
English nameTour Down Under
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeStage race
OrganiserEvents South Australia
Race directorStuart O'Grady
Web Edit this at Wikidata
First edition24 January 1999 (24 January 1999)
Editions22 (as of 2020)
First winner Stuart O'Grady (AUS)
Most wins Simon Gerrans (AUS) (4 wins)
Most recent Richie Porte (AUS)

The Tour Down Under is a cycling race in and around Adelaide, South Australia, and is the opening event of the UCI World Tour and features all 19 UCI WorldTeams. It also runs as a UCI Women's ProSeries event[1] and features a one-day circuit race as a 'prelude' to the main race.

The race was established in 1999 with the support of then Premier of South Australia John Olsen as part of an effort to fill the gap in the state's sporting calendar left by the move of the Australian Grand Prix from Adelaide to Melbourne, Victoria.[2] Since then, the event has been organised by South Australia's Major Event's arm Events South Australia. It has seen rapid growth in its first two decades, having notably become the first race to be granted UCI UCI ProTour status (now UCI WorldTour) in 2008, and becoming the first event of the UCI World Ranking calendar in 2009.

The race has always been held in the middle of the Australian summer season, and features a series of stages incorporating hills and flat sections over a six-day period.

Like other UCI WorldTour races, the event attracts all of the top UCI teams, as well as features a national representative team made up of riders without full-time professional contracts. Teams traditionally consist of six riders.

The rider with the lowest cumulative time after each stage is honoured with the Ochre Jersey. Similarly, leaders in the Sprint, Mountains and Youth classifications wear jerseys to signify their positions in those standings.


The Tour Down Under was established in 1999 and attracted a mix of local and international teams; for instance, current-day professional team AG2R La Mondiale has competed in every Tour Down Under.

The concept was originally developed by a team led by 1984 Olympics 4000m team pursuit gold medallist Michael Turtur in conjunction with the Government of South Australia as a replacement for the previous Australian Grand Prix that had relocated to Melbourne a few years earlier.

The first Tour Down Under was originally a UCI 2.4 class race, and featured teams from Australia and around the world, including GC-Casino, BigMat-Auber93, Crédit Agricole, Lampre-Daikin, Palmans-Ideal, Deutsche Bank Telekom, Team home-Jack&Jones, Saeco, the Australian Institute of Sport, Mapei, plus teams assembled under the banner of 'Team Australia' and 'World Team'. The race was won by Stuart O'Grady.[3]

In 2005, the Tour Down Under was promoted by the Union Cycliste Internationale to the highest ranking outside Europe.

In 2007, South Australian Premier Mike Rann and tourism minister Jane Lomax Smith launched a campaign for the Tour Down Under to become the first race outside of Europe to secure ProTour status from the UCI, thereby guaranteeing the attendance of all the world's top teams.[4]

That campaign successfully led to the Tour Down Under being awarded ProTour status the following year, and joining the UCI World Ranking calendar in 2009.

In September 2008, Rann said Lance Armstrong would make his comeback at the 2009 race.[5] Armstrong's participation saw visitor numbers doubled, the economic impact more than doubled (from $17.3 million in 2008 to $39 million in 2009) and media coverage increased five-fold.[6] The 2010, Tour Down Under was named Australia's Best Major Event for the second year in a row in the Qantas Tourism Awards. Armstrong participated in three successive Tour Down Under events, retiring after 2011. The 2011 Tour Down Under had an economic impact of $43 million and crowds of more than 782,000.[7] In 2013, it attracted more than 760,400 people to Adelaide and regional South Australia across eight days, including 40,000 interstate and international visitors who travelled there for the event.

Since then the race has continued to build, with milestones including becoming the first non-European event to achieve UCI ProTour status, status as Australia's Best Sporting Event in 2016 and a bronze medal at the Australian Tourism Awards.[8]

The Tour Down Under is currently the highest-ranked professional road cycling race in the southern hemisphere by start list quality.[9]

List of overall winners[edit]

Year Country Rider Team
1999  Australia Stuart O'Grady Crédit Agricole
2000  France Gilles Maignan AG2R Prévoyance
2001  Australia Stuart O'Grady Crédit Agricole
2002  Australia Michael Rogers Australian Institute of Sport
2003  Spain Mikel Astarloza AG2R Prévoyance
2004  Australia Patrick Jonker UniSA-Australia
2005  Spain Luis León Sánchez Liberty Seguros–Würth
2006  Australia Simon Gerrans AG2R Prévoyance
2007   Switzerland Martin Elmiger AG2R Prévoyance
2008  Germany André Greipel Team High Road
2009  Australia Allan Davis Quick-Step
2010  Germany André Greipel Team HTC–Columbia
2011  Australia Cameron Meyer Garmin–Cervélo
2012  Australia Simon Gerrans GreenEDGE
2013  Netherlands Tom-Jelte Slagter Blanco Pro Cycling
2014  Australia Simon Gerrans Orica–GreenEDGE
2015  Australia Rohan Dennis BMC Racing Team
2016  Australia Simon Gerrans Orica–GreenEDGE
2017  Australia Richie Porte BMC Racing Team
2018  South Africa Daryl Impey Mitchelton–Scott
2019  South Africa Daryl Impey Mitchelton–Scott
2020  Australia Richie Porte Trek–Segafredo

Simon Gerrans has won the Tour four times (2006, 2012, 2014, and 2016). Stuart O'Grady (1999 and 2001), André Greipel (2008 and 2010), Daryl Impey (2018 and 2019) and Richie Porte (2017 and 2020) have won the Tour Down Under twice; Impey is the only rider to successfully defend his title.

Winners by country[edit]

# Country Victories
1  Australia 12
2  Germany 2
 South Africa 2
 Spain 2
5  France 1
 Netherlands 1
  Switzerland 1

Tour directors[edit]

Women's racing and the Women's Tour Down Under[edit]

Women's racing was established at the Tour Down Under in 2012 with a series of criterium races by Cycling South Australia known as the Women's Cup. In 2015, these were upgraded to National Road Series status under the 'Women's Tour' banner.

Event organisers utilised the 'Women's Tour' name for the first UCI-ranked women's event in 2016. That race - a UCI 2.2 stage race - was won by Mitchelton-Scott (women's team) rider Katrin Garfoot. Amanda Spratt has won three events, including two classified at UCI 2.1 level. In 2020 the race became part of the new UCI Women's Pro Series and was won by American rider Ruth Winder. The women's race visits similar locations to the men's tour, such as the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills regions.


The Tour generally features stages surrounding Adelaide, from flat to undulating. There are no high mountains, giving pure climbers few opportunities. The traditional penultimate stage involves two laps of Willunga Hill, a 3 km climb at an average of 7.6%.[13] However most tour stages finish as a bunch sprint.

South Australia in late January is often hot. Daily maximum temperatures approaching or exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) are not uncommon - posing a unique challenge to riders.

Frequent locations[edit]

As local Adelaide councils are awarded hosting rights for stage starts and finishes, high streets ad major townships such as The Parade in Norwood, King William Road in Unley, Glenelg, Stirling's Main Street and McLaren Vale tend to be frequent locations for hosting race departures and arrivals.

Recent editions have seen the inclusion of Port Adelaide and the small township of Uraidla feature as start/finish locations.

Major Adelaide regions also feature as part of both the men's and women's Tours Down Under. The Adelaide Hills are typically visited on several occasions in the event as these feature most of the area's major climbing locations, such as Mount Lofty, Checker Hill and Corkscrew Road.

The major South Australian wine region of the Barossa Valley usually features at least one in each men's and women's event, with Mengler Hill the notable major climb of the region, while the long-established vineyards provide a unique setting for cyclists to venture, reminiscent of the continental races in France, Italy and Spain.

The Fleurieu Peninsula typically hosts one stage start and finish at McLaren Vale and Willunga Hill, however the race also visits the popular beach holiday spots of Victor Harbor, Port Elliot and Goolwa at least once.

Other regions to be visited sporadically include the South Australian Riverland, the Coorong and Lower Lakes and Clare Valley.


Leaders of competitions within the race wear a distinctive jersey, as per cycling tradition. Both the men's and women's races acknowledge classification leaders with jerseys. [14]

Race classification jerseys[edit]

  • General Classification: The Ochre jersey is awarded to the rider with the lowest cumulative time at the end of each stage and to the winner at the end. Ochre is associated with Australia and the Tour Down Under is unique in having it for the leader's jersey. The jersey is currently sponsored by Santos.
  • Sprint Classification: The Sprint jersey is awarded to the rider with most points and time bonuses awarded to the first three riders across the line at points along the route and at the finish. This jersey's colour and design usually changes based on sponsor. The current Sprint Jersey is blue and sponsored by Ziptrak, an Australian outdoor blind manufacturer.
  • Mountain classification: The King of the Mountain jersey is awarded to the rider with most points from those awarded to the first five riders over specified climb checkpoints, usually at the top of significant hills. This jersey retains the traditional 'polka dot' design used in cycling races to indicate the leader of this classification. The colour of the dots changes based on the sponsor. The current sponsor is Subaru Australia.
  • Young Rider's Classification: The Young Rider’s jersey is awarded to the leading rider under 23 at the end of each stage. This jersey is traditionally white in colour. The current Young Rider jersey sponsor is the University of South Australia.

Other prizes[edit]

  • The Most aggressive rider is awarded red number patches at the conclusion of each day's stage. There is no overall classification.
  • The Winning team prize is awarded to the team with the lowest cumulative time by its four best riders on each of the six stages.

Cycling Festival[edit]

Participants in the 2005 Be Active Tour at Angaston

A Festival of Cycling incorporating local food and wine experiences, amateur participation activities, street parties and markets and a central event hub have been hallmarks of the event for over a decade to provide greater opportunities for visitors to Adelaide to enjoy life in the city and its surrounding regions.

Tour Village[edit]

The 'Tour Village' is the event's central hub and is based in Victoria Square in the Adelaide central business district, due to its proximity to the Hilton Hotel which is the primary accommodation for visiting teams.

The southern section of the square is the home of the 'Team Zone' which houses equipment, vehicles and facilities for the participating men's teams.

The northern section serves as a venue for bike retail displays, food vendors and bars, and a large public stage to host the traditional team presentations and an opening weekend concert that is free for the public.

Street Parties[edit]

High streets and townships hosting starts and finishes occasionally hold a street party, akin to a public fete, with fashion parades, local food and wine, markets and cycling-related activities. Some regional starts and finishes will host community breakfasts at start locations.

Challenge Tour and participation activities[edit]

The Tour Down Under has a companion event, the Challenge Tour, a recreational event held across one of the Tour Down Under stages prior to the professional riders, in addition to participatory rides for families and children. The inaugural Challenge Tour event in 2003 was known as the Break-Away Tour and attracted more than 600 riders. In 2004 riders increased to 1,400 and the event was known as the Be Active Tour. The 2005 tour saw more than 1,900 riders leave Salisbury, Williamstown and Angaston in 30 °C (86 °F) to tackle the hills and roads of stage 2. In 2006, riders rode 154 km from Strathalbyn to Yankalilla in temperatures in excess of 40 °C (104 °F). The heat took its toll on riders and a heat policy now exists. As a result of the heat policy, the Challenge Tour has only been cancelled once- in 2018 - when temperatures over 40 degrees forced the event organisers to abandon the ride.[15]

In 2007 the name changed to Mutual Community Challenge Tour and it was joined by the Mutual Community Fun Tour and Powerade mini-tour for children. It was renamed the Bupa Challenge Tour when Mutual Community was purchased by Bupa and continued to run under this title until 2018. In 2019 it was run as the Challenge Tour presented by The Advertiser and was held on a Saturday for the first time in its history.[16].

Year Event Name Stage Travelled Participants
2003 Break-Away Tour Stage 2: Jacob's Creek - Kapunda[17] 620
2004 Be Active Tour Stage 3: Goolwa - Victor Harbor[18] 1400
2005 Be Active Tour Stage 2: Salisbury - Tanunda[19] 2000
2006 Be Active Tour Stage 3: Strathalbyn - Yankalilla[20] 2525
2007 Be Active Tour Stage 4: Stirling - Victor Harbor
2008 Mutual Community Challenge Tour Stage 4: Mannum - Strathalbyn[21] 3403
2009 Mutual Community Challenge Tour Stage 4: Burnside Village - Angaston[22]
2010 Mutual Community Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Goolwa 8099[23]
2011 Mutual Community Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Strathalbyn
2012 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Tanunda[24]
2013 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Modbury - Nuriootpa
2014 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Unley - Victor Harbor
2015 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Glenelg - Mount Barker
2016 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Victor Harbor
2017 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Campbelltown
2018 Bupa Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Uraidla (cancelled)
2019 Challenge Tour Stage 5: Glenelg - Strathalbyn
2020 Westpac Challenge Tour Stage 4: Norwood - Murray Bridge

Down Under Classic[edit]

Since 2008, there has been a tradition to hold a circuit race prior to the official start of the Tour Down Under. This event, known as the Down Under Classic, typically takes place on roads within Adelaide's East End. The race does not count towards the overall classification of the Tour Down Under, though riders do compete for prize money. The circuit also features the final stage of the Women's Tour Down Under, contested an hour before the start of the men's race. In 2020 the race was held as the Schwalbe Classic.

Down Under Classic Winners[edit]

Year Country Rider Team
2006  Australia Robbie McEwen Davitamon–Lotto
2007  Australia Mark Renshaw Crédit Agricole
2008  Germany André Greipel Team High Road
2009  Australia Robbie McEwen Team Katusha
2010  New Zealand Greg Henderson Team Sky
2011  Australia Matt Goss HTC–Highroad
2012  Germany André Greipel Lotto–Belisol
2013  Germany André Greipel Lotto–Belisol
2014  Germany Marcel Kittel Giant–Shimano
2015  Germany Marcel Kittel Team Giant–Alpecin
2016  Australia Caleb Ewan Orica–GreenEDGE
2017  Australia Caleb Ewan Orica–Scott
2018  Slovakia Peter Sagan Bora–Hansgrohe
2019  Australia Caleb Ewan Lotto–Soudal
2020  Australia Caleb Ewan Lotto–Soudal


Ochre jersey[edit]

From 1999 until 2005, the race presented the general classification leader and eventual winner with a yellow jersey, as with other European races like the Tour de France. In 2006, the race replaced the yellow with an Ochre-coloured jersey, symbolic of the colour associated with the Australian outback landscape.

Oppy the Kangaroo[edit]

The race caravan is also led by a car bearing the event's mascot 'Oppy', named for Australian cyclist Hubert Oppermann.

Obscure Pro[edit]

In this local tradition fans treat one unknown rider as a star, mobbing him at hotels and painting his name on the road. The rider must be a non-English speaking domestique who typically acts as a bottle carrier.[25]

Previous Obscure Pros have been:

Year Rider Team
2010  Arthur Vichot (FRA) Française des Jeux
2011  Angel Madrazo (ESP) [26] Movistar Team
2012  Wouter Mol (NED) [27] Vacansoleil–DCM
2013  Juraj Sagan (SVK) [28] Cannondale
2014 none nominated
2015  Boris Vallée (BEL) [29] Lotto–Soudal
2016  Alberto Bettiol (ITA) [30] Cannondale

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SANTOS WOMEN'S TOUR DOWN UNDER SECURES UCI ELEVATION FOR 2020". Tour Down Under. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  2. ^ Keane, Daniel (12 March 2015). "Victoria may gloat about poaching the Grand Prix, but SA gained a lot by losing it". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  3. ^ "History". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  4. ^ "ProTour Heads Down Under", Cycling News,28 September 2007
  5. ^ Associated Press, 24 September 2008
  6. ^ Cycling News 20 February 2009).
  7. ^ March 2011
  8. ^ "Awards". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Races listed by startlist quality". ProCyclingStats. 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Turtur confirms he will quit as Tour boss". SBS News. SBS News. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Stuart O'Grady Announced as New Race Director for the Santos Tour Down Under". Tour Down Under. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  12. ^ Migliaccio, Val (3 December 2019). "South Australian cycling icon Stuart O'Grady announced as new Tour Down Under race director". The Advertiser. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Old Willunga Hill Hill Climb | South Australia, Australia". Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  14. ^ {{cite web |url= |title=Jerseys |publisher=Tour Down Under |accessdate=2007-01-16 |archiveurl = |archivedate = 2019-04-20}
  15. ^ "Tour Down Under's Bupa Challenge Tour for amateur riders cancelled because of extreme heat". The Advertiser. The Advertiser. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  16. ^ "CHALLENGE TOUR TRAVELS FROM COAST TO CATTLE ON SATURDAY OF 2019 TDU". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Break-Away Tour". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 9 December 2002. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  18. ^ "be active tour presented by The Advertiser". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 17 February 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  19. ^ "be active tour presented by the Advertiser". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 10 August 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  20. ^ "be active tour". Bike SA. Bike SA. Archived from the original on 2 January 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Mutual Community Challenge Tour". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Mutual Community Challenge Tour". Tour Down Unde. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  23. ^ "2010 Economic Impact". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Bupa Challenge Tour". Tour Down Under. Tour Down Under. Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  25. ^ Port Adelaide CC Forum "Operation: Support Obscure TDU Pro". Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  26. ^ Port Adelaide CC Forum "Operation: Support Obscure TDU Pro"
  27. ^ Port Adelaide CC Forum "Operation: Support Obscure TDU Pro"
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ [2]
  30. ^ [3]

External links[edit]