When the Tour Down Under began life in 1999, it was the only game in town for riders looking to shorten the winter by racing beneath the sun at a time when the majority of their rivals were still training in frigid temperatures in Europe.
The landscape has changed emphatically since then, of course, amid cycling’s ongoing globalisation and its ever-expanding calendar. Rather than a novelty, the early start is now bordering on de rigueur as far as some are concerned, and the Tour Down Under is by no means the lone show in the southern hemisphere in January.
Now in its ninth edition, the Tour de San Luis has enjoyed an upsurge in its popularity in recent years and its status is now such that when the 2015 season gets underway this week, attention will be divided more or less equally between Argentina and Australia.
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