Australia’s oldest stage race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will make its return to the 2013 calender when the revamped four-day race begins on January 3. The 60th edition of the tour will start with an afternoon individual time trial held along the Victorian beachside town of Williamstown and will be followed by three road stages.
The Tour, running from January 3-6 will not have its previous UCI 2.1 status and will be run as an Australian National Event. The composition of riders and teams is not yet known and will be clarified closer to the race date. Race organisers had to put the event on hold due to scheduling clashes with the UCI WorldTour event, the Tour of Hangzhou which was recently postponed for 2012.
The revised dates for the four-day tour will make for a busy and exciting start to the 2013 season with the opening day of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour coinciding with the final stage of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, the Michelton Bay Cycling Classic Criterium.
The 2013 edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will begin with an afternoon prologue on January 3, a 5.36km individual time trial in Williamstown which will be open to the elements of Port Phillip Bay.
The tour will continue with the first of three road stages from Sunbury, north of the Melbourne city-centre, ending 142km later in the historic regional city of Bendigo.
Stage 2's distance is not yet specified but race organisers say it will be of similar length from Mitchelton Winery, owned by Gerry Ryan, south to Healesville in the picturesque Yarra Valley.
As a crescendo, organisers are promising a similar finale to that which gave the event an all-new relevance in 2011 with a challenging stage focussed on the Arthurs Seat climb. The fourth and final stage, at 86km will begin from Cape Schank before ascending to Arthurs Seat. The reduction in distance will certainly be outweighed by the difficulty of the course. The hill-top finish will likely determine the Tour’s overall winner.
Cycling Australia’s president, Klaus Mueller was delighted to see the Jayco Herald Sun Tour included into the strong summer of cycling in Victoria
"Cycling Australia is delighted to assist the development of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and facilitate a move of the event to January to help create the Australian summer of cycling and allow the cycling community to access elite riders across three prestigious events in Victoria," he said.
Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty said the Tour was firmly entrenched in Victoria’s sporting calendar, and the move to January would provide an opportunity for more Victorians to be inspired by the competing cyclists and also to enjoy the race during their summer holidays.
"After the success of the 2010 UCI Road World Championships and 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, we look forward to again hosting the colour and excitement of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour cycling peloton to Victoria," he said.
"The Tour provides us with the ultimate opportunity to showcase some of the state’s most impressive attributes, including regional and coastal areas."
Mark Gardy, News Ltd Victorian Regional Director was proud of the tradition and rich history of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. He was eager to see the race prosper in its new position on the Australian calender.
"The Jayco Herald Sun Tour has a long and proud history," he said.
"It has played a major role in the development of the next generation of Australian riders since it was first held in 1952 and it is the performances of cyclists such as Nathan Haas at last year’s event, and subsequent 2012 season with WorldTour outfit Garmin-Sharp, that forms the foundation of what this event is about."