14 January 2012

Santos Tour Down Under - just what you need to know

Tour Down Under - events begin tomorrow (which is today)

The first UCI World Tour event of the 2012 racing begins tomorrow in Adelaide, Australia. The Santos Tour Down Under is a 2.HC classified race now in it's 14th year. The event begins on Sunday January 15th, with the Down Under Classic (closed circuit road race, a stand alone event), followed by the Team Presentation for the Tour Down Under, then a non-competition day, and finally 6 consecutive stages of the Tour Down Under finishing on January 22, 2012.
The fun part of being a fan at the Tour Down Under appears to be that all stages are located near the city of Adelaide, making it easy for a fan to stay and play within the surrounding area of the city. They even offer coach/bus transportation for fans to get to and from the start and finish areas. If I wanted to spend $3800.00 on Qantas and 24 hours of travel time with 2 stops, I could get myself from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Adelaide, Australia, to watch this great event. Instead I will have to do some fancy math and figure out how and when to watch the race live online, in a place 17.5 hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time in the USA. 
At this hour riders are waking and beginning their preparations for their first big WorldTour race of the season. Race barriers are being placed, banners are being raised, and volunteers are taking their places as Adelaide, Australia, awakes to exciting days ahead in professional cycling. All the big teams are there - it is time to get this thing started. 

Times like these call for a little arm-chair traveling as a professional cycling fan. We need to gather our tools of the trade: race information, stage dates and host cities, teams, riders, who is paying for our fun (Sponsors), jerseys, stats, maps and start and finish times, news, and finally how and when to watch the race live, plus any associated citizen rides where we can act like the pros.
Race information:
Official Santos Tour Down Under Website and Twitter 
In 2008, the Santos Tour Down Under was the first event to join the UCI race calendar outside of Europe. Remember the series of 28 UCI races in 2012 (14 stage races and 14 one-day races) is no longer called the ProTour, it is called the WorldTour, with 18 ProTeams (no spaces needed when it comes to the UCI). The UCI strictly governs not only spelling but most aspects of international cycling (with great controversy). The ProTeams are required to attend the races on the WorldTour calendar, which begin in January and end in October (and you thought it was easy to be a professional cyclist). 
There are no UCI Professional Continental Teams in the Santos Tour Down Under, the roster is completely filled with UCI ProTeams with the exception of Uni SA-Australia, This unique team is supported by the University of South Australia and considered the National Team of Australia, launching many cycling careers for young Australian riders. The team now called Uni SA-Australia first participated in the STDU in 2001 and is part of the tradition of the race. (See full list of teams below)
Stage dates and host cities for the Santos Tour Down Under:
Use the dropdown box at this link to access all stage information on the official website.
January 15, Sunday - Down Under Classic (one-day event), 51km (a closed circuit road race, not part of the Tour Down Under stage race)
January 16, Monday - no competition
January 17, Tuesday - Stage 1, Prospect to Clare, 149km
January 18, Wednesday - Stage 2, Lobethal to Stirling, 148km
January 19, Thursday - Stage 3, Unley to Victor Harbor, 134.5km
January 20, Friday - Stage 4, Norwood to Tanunda, 130km
January 21, Saturday - Stage 5, McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill, 151.5km
January 22, Sunday - Stage 6, Adelaide City Council Street Circuit, 90km
Riche Porte with a kangaroo in 2011
A description of Teams competing in the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under. Here is the list of teams:
Ag2r La Mondiale (France)
Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spain)
FDJ-Big Mat (France)
Garmin-Baracuda (USA)
GreenEDGE Cycling Team (Australia)
Katusha Team (Russia)
Lampre-ISD (Italy)
Liquigas-Cannondale (Italy)
Lotto-Belisol (Belgium)
Movistar (Spain)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep (Belgium)
Rabobank Cycling Team (Netherlands)
Saxo Bank (Denmark)
Sky ProCycling (Great Britain)
Radioshack-Nissan (Luxembourg)
Uni SA-Australia (Australia) (Australian National Team)
Vacansoleil-DCM (Netherlands) 
Riders and fans at the 2011 STDU
Startlist roster of riders on each team in the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under.
Santos is a major oil and gas company in Australia. See all the 2012 Sponsors for the Santos Tour Down Under - a page of Sponsor Logos (a big thanks to the Sponsors who pay for the races). 
Clear your mind of the habit of looking for the yellow, green or white jerseys. In Australia they have a way of doing things their own way. These are the leaders and classification jerseys for the Santos Tour Down Under for 2012:
STDU Ochre Leaders Jersey
STDU Skoda King of the Mountain Jersey
STDU Jayco Sprint Jersey
STDU Cycle Instead Young Riders Jersey
STDU Hindmarsh Most Aggressive Riders Jersey
STDU South Australia Brilliant Blend Winning Team Jersey
Cameron Meyer (AUS) (Garmin-Cervelo) won the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under. View this very good listing of facts and statistical report on the race by Cycling Weekly.
Cameron Meyer signs in at the 2011 STDU
Maps and times:
This combined stage race map (below) was created by Velowire.com. As you can see, the city of Adelaide is consumed by bike racing for the next week.
Map by Velowire
(Lots of information by Velowire at this link)
Individual Stage Maps (click maps to enlarge) (Maps via the official STDU website)
STAGE 1: Start Time: 11am,  Finish Time: 2.54pm ETA
Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 1 map
STAGE 2 (Colemans Group Stage 2): Start Time: 11am, Finish Time: 2.45pm ETA
Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 2 map
STAGE 3: Start Time: 11am (King William Road, Unley), Finish Time: 2.43pm ETA
Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 3 map
STAGE 4 (Bupa Stage 4): Start Time: 11am (The Parade, Norwood), Finish Time: 2.31pm ETA
Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 4 map
STAGE 5 (Jayco Stage 5): Start Time: 11.10am McLaren Vale, Finish Time: 3.02pm ETA, Old Willunga Hill
Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 5 map
STAGE 6: Start Time: 1.10pm (King William Road, Elder Park), Finish Time: 3.15pm* approximately
Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 6 map
The big news of this race so far is that Jack Bobridge is out of the race due to injury after a gust of wind caused by a passing truck knocked him down during the recent Australian Time Trial Championships. Also long exiled Alejandro Valverde returns to racing in 2012 with his Spanish Movistar team. Italian Alessandro Petacchi is venturing down under to challenge other powerful sprinters including Matt Goss, Andre Greipel, Oscar Freire, Mark Renshaw, and Daniele Bennati. Mark Cavendish will not be racing the Tour Down under this year. This is however our first big chance to see the new teams of RadioShack-Nissan, GreenEDGE, Lotto-Belisol, and Omega Pharma-Quickstep in action. We will also get our first real siting of the entire lineup of new team bikes and jerseys for the 2012 season. And Jens Voigt will be in the house, what more could we want! Tour Down Under preview by VeloNews
News Sources:
Steephill.TV  It is Steephill season again!, visit this one source, he will link you to all you need to know about the race. Or CyclingFans.com.
How and when to watch the race live:
Tour Down Under 2012: Sky Sports TV schedule (British satellite broadcaster Sky)
In a first for the event, wwos.ninemsn.com.au will stream live coverage of the Down Under Classic, Jayco Stage 5 and Stage 6. Highlights packages will also be available each evening for Stages 1-4.
In the USA, coverage can be difficult to find, but if there is a way Steephill.TV or CyclingFans.com will list the link on their pages. On Sunday, January 15, 2011, NBC will show coverage of the "Tour Down Under Classic" at 3 p.m (ET).
Tune into Twitter, as people will frequently link to live steaming if found. Or follow the tweets at @SantosTDU_Live and @tourdownunder
International broadcasters: viewers around the world can watch the Santos Tour Down Under action on the following networks. Please check your local broadcaster for schedule details.
France - Sport+
Ireland - Setanta
Luxembourg - RTL
Norway - TV2Sport
Spain - Teledeporte
UK - Sky Sports and ITV
Pan-Africa - Supersport
USA and Canada - NBCSports and Rogers
South and Central America - Direct TV
Pan-Asia - Eurosport Asia
Japan - Jsports
Malaysia - Astro
New Zealand - Sky TV
Citizen Rides (how you can participate):
Amateur cyclists may participate in the 2012 Bupa Challenge Tour (formerly known as the Be Active Tour, Breakaway Tour, and Mutual Community Challenge Tour) on January 20, 2012. Cost $145 (Australian dollars). There are 4 different start locations and times. It sounds fun: "your opportunity to ride a stage of a UCI WorldTour event, the same day as the ProTeams. It's a challenge - not a race. Part of the ŠKODA Breakaway Series, this event is for regular cyclists who can make the distance. Will you make it to the finish before the professionals arrive? Take part in the 2012 Bupa Challenge Tour. Register as an individual or as a team."
Read previous related posts by Pedal Dancer: Who is Škoda and Tour Down Under begins today (2011)