The Tour Down Under versus the Tour de France

samwood Roar Rookie

By samwood, samwood is a Roar Rookie

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    The Tour down Under 2013 (TDU) was a fantastic event and has come so far since starting 15 years ago. It was amazing to watch a packed weekend of cycling, talk to the crowd and note just how impressed everyone was.

    This was my first visit to the TDU but having traveled to the Tour de France quite a few times I was struck by the ease of accessibility, the volume of world class cyclists involved, how ideal Adelaide is to host such an event and how much the crowds felt like they rivalled a typical Tour de France day.

    I think the only thing missing was the Tour de France red devil who follows every stage, every year of the Tour de France!

    However there were a few good Aussie versions including a full grown man in nappies, a man in a bear suit on one of the 40 degree days and multiple clowns running alongside the riders as they climbed the corkscrew!

    On the downside it is unfortunately that the TDU clashes with both the Tour de San Luis in Argentina which took a good chunk of the world class riders and the Australian Open Tennis which took a chunk of the crowd.

    Still, this is an event which is growing and looked truly world class when viewed from the heavy crowds on the side of the road in the McLaren Vale or the streets of Adelaide.

    So here is what it is aspiring to – is it possible that the TDU will become the Australian ‘must’ event for cycling teams? Will the TDU become the Melbourne F1 for Grand Prix, or the Australian Open for Tennis – the downunder beginning to the top events of the season, and a favourite of the circuses that follow?

    It is the first UCI event of the year but it seems it still has some distance to go to convince the rest of the world of its potential. Will it always suffer from the timezone, distance and rivalry with other Australian sports?

    Cycling events like the Tour de France have so much history. In only 15 years, I think the TDU is doing ok but it would be great to see it up there with the Grand Tours!

    Here is a statistical comparison of the two tours.

    Tour Down Under v Tour de France

    TDU First Year: 1999
    Tour de France First Year: 1903

    TDU Tour Length: 6 Days
    Tour de France Tour Length: 21 Days

    TDU Tour Length circa (km): 760
    Tour de France Tour Length circa (km): 3500

    TDU Riders: 133
    Tour de France Riders: 198

    TDU Teams: 19 (7 per team)
    Tour de France Teams: 22 (9 per team)

    TDU Total biggest crowd (est.): 780,000 (over 6 days)
    Tour de France Total biggest crowd (est.): 10,000,000 (over 21 days)

    TDU Biggest Day ever (est.): 150,000 (Day 5, 2013)
    Tour de France Biggest Day ever (est.): 3,000,000 (Day 1, 2007)

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Roar Guru

      January 30th 2013 @ 12:44pm
      sheek said | January 30th 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

      Obviously the TDF is the ultimate, but the TDU has room to grow.

      I think they’ve found the right part of the country to tour, some of the scenery in the back hills behind Adelaide & south-east corner are spectacular.

      Australia is a long way from the rest of the world, but I think we can produce a very good tour in years to come.

    • Roar Guru

      January 31st 2013 @ 1:32am
      peeeko said | January 31st 2013 @ 1:32am | ! Report

      would it make more sense to make it a tour rather than just purely based around Adelaide, surely more australians would get involved if it passed through their city/town? adelaide – mt gambier- great ocean road – melbourne – thru the great dividing range and canberra to sydney?

      • Columnist

        January 31st 2013 @ 6:14am
        Sean Lee said | January 31st 2013 @ 6:14am | ! Report

        The appeal of this race, especially to the riders, is that there are no transfers between stages. They can stay at the same hotel for the duration of the event.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 31st 2013 @ 2:57am
      Dylan Reynolds said | January 31st 2013 @ 2:57am | ! Report

      It is a great event and part of the charm is definitely the accessibility. I think for it to increase it position of importance though they need to be able to shift it in the calendar – if possible. As it stands it is used as little more than a training run for the bigger names.

      • Columnist

        January 31st 2013 @ 6:16am
        Sean Lee said | January 31st 2013 @ 6:16am | ! Report

        With world tour points up for grabs it is less of a training run now than what it has been. In such a tight schedule there is really nowhere else it could slot in, plus it has become the grand finale of a summer of cycling in Australia, coming after the Bay Classic, the nationals and the Herald Sun Tour.

    • January 31st 2013 @ 9:34am
      Ryback said | January 31st 2013 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      Personally I think the TDU should get back all the disgraced drug cheats and put them in one team; Lance, Contador, Vinokourov, Mayo, Jan Ullrich, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov and Richard Virenque (Floyd Landis and Michael Rasmussen can be alternates). A small dispensation from the UCI might be required but the limitless publicity would be worth the vilification it might receive from some quarters.

      Seriously though I think @peeeko has a good idea with moving it about Australia a little – perhaps just the first stage or the people’s classic so the riders only have to do one transfer.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 31st 2013 @ 11:07am
      samwood said | January 31st 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      The Tashkent Terror, havent heard his name for a while – he was a pretty amazing sprinter and that would make a pretty amazing team although I think the egos may be an issue!

      It could be a good idea having a single day to show off another part of Australia and show the TDU to wider audiences. Adelaide was pretty amazing during the tour, but it would be good to share the event a little.

      As for the world tour points table It has given Slatger a good jump in too – http://www.uciworldtour.com/templates/BUILTIN-NOFRAMES/Template3/layout.asp?MenuId=MTY3Mzc&LangId=1

    • Roar Guru

      January 31st 2013 @ 12:04pm
      sheek said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

      While acknowledging Sean’s comment that the riders like not having to move between stages, Peeeko also makes an excellent suggestion.

      We know that many stages of the TDF are set year in/year out. The race always finishes in Paris. Nevertheless, each year the route is changed slightly with some different stages. This makes each tour unique while retaining a sameness at the same time.

      There is enormous growth for the TDU & I guess it is how big do we wish to grow it?

      Adelaide has earned the right for the finish, while SA & Victoria should comprise most of the tour. However, the other states could be involved by holding the first one or two stages on a rotational basis.

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