Five times Tour de France Miguel Indurain will be honoured at the 2008 Tour Down Under, South Australian Minister for Tourism Jane Lomax-Smith has announced. Affectionately named Big Mig, due to his 1.88 metre height, Spaniard Miguel will make his first visit to Adelaide and the Tour Down Under.
"Confirming the attendance of Miguel Indurain as a guest of the Tour Down Under, further strengthens our international credibility as a cycling force," Lomax-Smith said of the two time Giro d'Italia winner's appearance. "Throughout his Tour de France career Indurain achieved eleven successful stage wins, the first in 1985, going on to take out Tour de France honours for the first time in 1991.
Indurain was the first to win the prestigious Grand Tour five consecutive times from 1991 - 1995, relived in a recent Cyclingnews video, prompting then Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc to label him as one of the greatest champions in the event's history.
"It is the internationally recognised reputation of the Tour Down Under that persuaded Indurain to accept our invitation," said the Minister. "He will be honoured at the Tour Down Under's Legends' Night Dinner.
"With our sights set on achieving ProTour status, the attendance of a cycling legend such as Miguel Indurain further cements our international standing within the cycling fraternity," she added. "We have worked hard to position the Tour Down Under as the premier cycling event outside of Europe and we're optimistic the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will reward our efforts when it meets in September."
Race director and former professional Mike Turtur described the announcement as a coup for the event. "Miguel is a legend of the sport, was always highly respected in the peloton, and his presence at our event will add further excitement to what is shaping up to be our best event yet," said Turtur.
The 2008 Tour Down Under runs between January 20 and 27 and features new race routes, racing across two weekends.