10 Dec 2009

Tour turf war brewing

1:35 pm on 10 December 2009

A turf war is brewing in Australian cycling between two of its most important events - the Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour.

Cycling Australia is conducting sensitive negotiations over a bid by the Herald Sun Tour to move from its annual October timeslot to February.

The Victorian event is unlikely to go ahead next year because October has become too busy, with Melbourne and Geelong hosting the world road championships immediately before the Commonwealth Games are held in India.

But the Herald Sun Tour is keen to switch to February in 2011, soon after the Tour Down Under is staged in Adelaide during mid-January.

The Tour Down Under's race director Mike Turtur says that's simplistic as the South Australian event was established because of tourism, not because of a bike race.

And he says there are too many northern-hemisphere races outside Australia in February for the Herald Sun Tour to be able to attract a good-quality field.