Sun Tour to commence route planning next week

Owner looking forward to increase in field quality

A meeting between the Jayco Herald Sun Tour stakeholders will take place next week, where planning for the 2011 event will commence. Cycling Australia announced yesterday the event would move from its October date for the first time in its 57 year history, which should improve the level of riders the event is able to attract, according to The Herald Sun's strategic partnerships director Tom Salom.

“I think it will certainly make for a better Jayco Herald Sun Tour from 2011 onwards,” Salom told Cyclingnews. “I think it was extremely important. We felt the current date was restricting the event rather than promoting it, because of the availability, or lack of availability, of top quality riders. So it was pretty significant for expanding and growing the event.”

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour requested a move to February in the hope of retaining some of the ProTour teams in Australia for January’s Tour Down Under. The ProTour race’s director Mike Turtur moved to prevent two HTC-Columbia riders from competing in the Australian Open Road Championships this January, who were brought in from Germany to compete specifically at Tour Down Under. While there’s potential for a similar situation to occur with Tour Down Under and Jayco Herald Sun Tour next year, Salom hasn’t spoken to Turtur or entered public debate on the matter, saying it wouldn’t be in the sport’s best interest.

“I think that would be to the detriment of the sport and that’s something for Mike Turtur to consider,” he said. “I thought he was about promoting the sport, so that’s all I’d say on that.”

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid raised concerns a move by the Jayco Herald Sun Tour to a February date could leave the two races competing for the ProTour license during his visit to Tour Down Under in January, a situation he was keen to avoid. In response Salom described the two races as complimentary, adding that the only motivation behind a date change was improving the field it’s able to attract.

“There’s one preeminent ProTour race in this country and that’s the Tour Down Under,” he said. “All we’re seeking to do is to improve the quality of our event. We think the two are actually complimentary.

“We simply want a better quality of riders in our event and I think once you get over four ProTour teams you’re in ProTour territory, and we acknowledge that. We’re not in that territory,” he added. “We’re about improving the quality of the riders and the promotion of our event, and that’s our sole aim.”

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour’s position on the 2011 International Cycling Union calendar will require the endorsement of the world federation. It will be reviewed with the entire 2011 calendar later this year.

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