Roberts to ride Tour Down Under
30 December 2010
South Australian Olympic gold medallist Luke Roberts will ride for the Australian national team, UniSA-Australia, at next month's Santos Tour Down Under.
Roberts, who achieved Olympic glory at the Athens Olympics in 2004 with a track gold medal in the team pursuit, also won the third stage in the Tour of Murcia this year.
He was fifth overall in the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under and came second in the Jayco Stage Five of the Tour.
"Roberts was unlucky not to win the stage at Willunga this year," Race director, Mike Turtur, said. "Riding with UniSA-Australia is a great opportunity for him to compete again in front of a home crowd."
The 2011 Santos Tour Down Under marks the University of South Australia's 11th year of involvement with the January cycling event.
Joining Roberts in the UniSA-Australia team will be Queenslanders Jonathan Cantwell and Michael Hepburn, Wesley Sulzberger from Tasmania, Luke Durbridge from Western Australia and Mitchell Docker from Victoria.
Cantwell, who rode with UniSA-Australia at the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under, has had impressive results in the US this year, racing with Fly V Australia.
"It will be a big challenge for Cantwell to ride against the top five sprinters in the world and a great opportunity to show his abilities against the world's best,'' Turtur said.
Hepburn and Durbridge are the youngest in the line-up with both 19 years old but Hepburn this year won World and Commonwealth Games gold medals on the track while Durbridge claimed silver in the U23 time trial at the road World Championships and bronze in the elite time trial in Delhi.
UniSA-Australia's final starter will be determined after the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships, being held in Ballarat from 6 to 11 January, 2011.
UniSA's Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Hoj said the Santos Tour Down Under had been a 'great launching pad for Australia's up and coming riders and many go on to secure professional contracts after they ride for us in this event'.
"Every year Team UniSA-Australia pulls out some great rides and really take it up to the other teams to show what they can do,'' Prof Hoj said. "Last year our cyclists were involved in just about every break-away from the peloton and they were up on the stage throughout the race with several Hindmarsh Most Aggressive and Skoda King of the Mountain jerseys,'' Prof Hoj said.