The UCI has amended its race regulations for its newest ProTour event, the Tour Down Under, in order to allow the Australian national team, known as UniSA, to compete in the event, the race promoter announced Thursday. At the request of the Tour organisers, the sport's governing body relaxed the regulation which usually restricts ProTour races to UCI ProTour or Professional Continental teams to allow UniSA to compete as it has since the Tour's inception.
The move makes the Australian squad the first national team to participate in a ProTour event at the first ProTour race ever held outside of Europe.
Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith touted the news as a great honour for the UniSA team, which attracts a huge local following. "The UniSA team has been a much-loved part of the Tour Down Under for many years and I'm absolutely delighted that they can continue to race in 2008," Lomax-Smith said.
"We have been lobbying the UCI since learning of the Tour Down Under's status elevation and it's great that they have responded so positively to our historic request."
National selectors are expected to name the riders for the UniSA's Tour Down Under team next week. The Tour Down Under begins January 22, 2008.