A sprint showdown will be a highlight of the 2006 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under with confirmation that two-time Tour de France green jersey champion, Robbie McEwen, will go head to head with 2005 Tour de France sprint champion, Thor Hushovd, in Adelaide and surrounding regions from January 17-22, 2006.
McEwen has won eleven stages of the Tour Down Under since 2000 and this season amassed 23 victories, including three stages of the Tour de France, three stages of the Giro d'Italia and three stages of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under and the Queenslander has no intention of letting his Norwegian rival steal his thunder on home turf.
"If I'm going any good then I want to win stages and even if I'm not going so good I want to win stages and I'll find a way," said McEwen who is looking forward to doing battle with Hushovd. "He won the Tour green jersey but I showed I was the fastest. But it's not always about being the absolute fastest it's about being consistent and he rode well and picked up some points on days that I didn't.
"It's great for the race to have him here," continued McEwen. "It means South Australians and fans who travel from around Australia and the world can witness first hand in January the intensity and excitement of what goes on in July in France."
Joining McEwen in the Davitamon-Lotto team is Victorian Cadel Evans who delivered on his promise as a Grand Tour rider when he finished seventh overall in his Tour de France debut. "My 2006 season will revolve around the Tour de France so the Tour Down Under will be perfect race for me to get some solid work in," said Evans. "The stages are not too hard and I always love to race in Australia as much as I can."
Also returning to Adelaide is Tour de France rider Johan Vansummeren who this year finished fourth overall and was second on stage three of the Tour Down Under. Debuting with the team is Nic Sanderson, a graduate of the Cycling Australia-AIS Development Program. The young Victorian was the bronze medallist in the junior road race at the World Championships in 2002 and was a silver medallist at this year's Australian Madison Championships.
Organisers have also confirmed the entry of the Belgian registered Professional Continental Team, Chocolade Jacques team for next year's race.
For full team line-ups and many more information on the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, please go to www.tourdownunder.com.au.