Tour Down Under still an economic success without Armstrong

Dates announced for 15th running of Australian WorldTour opener

South Australian Tourism Minister, Gail Gago has announced that the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from Tuesday, January 22 to Sunday, January 27 with the traditional warm-up criterium, the Down Under Classic taking place on Sunday, January 20.

"Fifteen years is a great milestone for the Tour, which has now established itself as the first race on the international cycling calendar and as a leading event on the world stage," Gago said in a press release which announced that the 2012 event once again added a significant boost to the local economy.

The route for the 2013 event will be released in July.

The 2012 Santos Tour Down Under was the first since 2008 without the presence of Lance Armstrong who used the Australian race to launch his comeback to the sport in 2009. Australia's Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) won the event from Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Nissan). It was the second time Gerrans had prevailed in the race, having previously taken honours in 2006 riding for AG2R Prévoyance.

According to the government press release, the 2012 event generated $42.2 million in economic activity and attracted 760,600 spectators, including 36,100 interstate and international visitors.

"Before he [Armstrong] first rode the Tour, the event generated around $17 million for the state's economy," Gago explained. "In 2012, without his participation for the first time in three years, the event generated more than $42 million.

"The Santos Tour Down Under benefited hugely from the participation of Lance Armstrong and it's a testament to the event's reputation and the wonderful experience it gives visitors that the level of interest has largely been maintained without his involvement."


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