The Santos Tour Down Under was first held in 1999 and has grown year on year to become the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere.
Some of the very best in road cycling have competed at the Santos Tour Down Under during its eleven year history. Tour de France winners Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pereiro, Alberto Contador and Carlos Sastre have all raced in Adelaide, alongside Aussie legends Stuart OGrady, Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans and Allan Davis.
In 2011, the Tour Down Under has attracted Australia’s top riders and teams to compete for the Santos Ochre Leaders jersey in the Tour Down Under.
Olympic gold medalist Luke Roberts will ride for the Australian national team, UniSA-Australia, at the Santos Tour Down Under. Roberts, who achieved Olympic glory at the Athens Olympics in 2004 with a track gold medal in the team pursuit, also won the third stage in the Tour of Murcia this year. He was fifth overall in the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under and came second in the Jayco Stage Five of the Tour.
Robbie McEwen will debut with his new team, Team RadioShack, at the Santos Tour Down Under. McEwen was part of the Pegasus Sports project which failed to get a ProTour or Professional Continental license for the upcoming season and opted to change teams. "The young guys like Cavendish, Farrar or Greipel are tough to beat but I know that I am still amongst that group of elite sprinters."
Richie Porte will be riding for his new team Saxo Bank SunGard. When he turned professional in 2010, Porte had an exceptional start to his professional career, leading the Giro d’Italia for three days and capturing the Maglia Rosa leaders’ jersey.
Top lead-out man Mark Renshaw will again be leading out Mark Cavendish for team HTC Highroad, Renshaw has previously won Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under in 2008.
South Australian young gun turned pro cyclist, Tim Roe will be compting with his new team Team BMC. Having spent the past year riding with Lance Armstrong’s Trek Livestrong Under-23 Team, it will be interesting to see how Roe has developed as a rider.
The only rider to have competed in every edition of the Santos Tour Down Under, Australia’s Allan Davis will be competing again in 2011. The 30-year old won the Santos Tour Down Under in 2009, and prior to that, he has had six stage wins and finished second overall at the event in 2005 and 2008.
Reigning Under-23 World Champion, Michael Mathews, will debut with his new team Rabobank at the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under. Matthews has shown he can perform at the big occasions when he won the under 23 road race at the 2010 World Championships
Cameron Wurf makes his first appearance at the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under for the Liquigas Cannondale team. Wurf, who has a bright future ahead of him in professional cycling, wants to put in a strong performance.
Stuart O’Grady will be again racing the Tour Down Under. The two time TDU winner has recovered from the broken ribs he sustained in a ski accident last month and has confirmed he is fit to ride in Adelaide. In 2007, O’Grady became the first Australian ever to win the Paris-Roubaix race. He is also a three-time Tour de France stage winner. O’Grady will compete with his new team, Team Leopard-Trek.
Team Leopard Racing has signed Tasmanian Will Clarke former winner of the Australian National Road Series in 2009.
The Santos Tour Down Under starts on Sunday January 16 with the 51km Cancer Council Classic preview event in Adelaide.