Australia's 2020 cycling summer starts to take shape

Tour Down Under confirms race dates, Towards Zero Race Torquay announced

The 2020 season is already taking shape in Australia, with the dates for next year's Tour Down Under men's and women's events announced, along with a change to the opening race of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race weekend also confirmed.

Australia's 'summer of cycling' will begin again in the new year with the Bay Crits series in Victoria, followed by the national road championships – the dates for which are yet to be announced. The Women's Tour Down Under will then run from January 16-19, based on stage routes around Adelaide, South Australia.

The final stage of the women's event, on January 19, will also be the date for the men's Down Under Classic – the curtain-raiser, downtown Adelaide criterium race that preludes the men's WorldTour stage race, which it's been announced will run from January 21 for six stages, finishing on January 26.

The Tour Down Under is then followed by the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, back in the state of Victoria. The main women's and men's races, which are attended by many of the same top European teams that will have competed at the TDU, will start and finish in Geelong on February 1 and 2, respectively, but will be preceded – as they have been since 2017 – by a 'Towards Zero' criterium race, sponsored by a state road-safety campaign.

The men's and women's crits have taken place for the past three years in central Melbourne, following the Formula 1 street circuit around Albert Park. However, the organisation of the Cadel Evans race announced last week that the venue would change for 2020, moving from Melbourne to Torquay.

Torquay – close to Bells Beach on the famous Surf Coast – will host the Towards Zero Race Torquay crits on Thursday, January 30, and the town also features on the route of the weekend's main men and women's races.

"It's very exciting news that we're now moving out to Torquay," said race director and former pro Scott Sunderland. "Having the race out on the Surf Coast, close to Geelong, and where all the teams are based, is going to be really exciting for them, as it ticks all the performance boxes they need.

"The teams enjoy their time in Torquay and around Geelong, so to be able to ride the Great Ocean Road on their training rides, in their preparation for the Thursday and the weekend, is just going to be sublime," said Sunderland.

"It's a new race," added 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, whose eponymous race was first held in 2015. "It's going to be a great event for Torquay, and it just increases the quality of the whole weekend. It makes for three international days of racing for the whole family, at a beautiful time of year, in a beautiful part of the country."

The Australian cycling summer will then culminate with the Herald Sun Tour men's and women's races in early February, after which the world's best riders head back to Europe to continue their racing campaigns and build up for the one-day spring Classics.

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