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Extreme heat shortens race but cyclists pedal on

January 18, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Extreme heat has forced the shortening of a premier South Australian tourism event – the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under cycling race. The race has grown so big that Qantas advised customers heading there this year to get to the airport earlier than usual “in case of delays at check-in if there are a large number of bikes”.

The opening stage of the race was shortened yesterday by extreme heat in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. The temperature experienced by cyclists, including heat reflected up from the road surface, hit 50C.

First held in 1999, the week-long Tour Down Under has grown to become the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere. It attracts riders from all over the world. In 2005, the event was promoted by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to the highest ranking outside Europe.

In 2008 the Tour Down Under became the first UCI ProTour in Australia, and the following year it became the inaugural event of the UCI World Ranking calendar.

Competitors in the Santos Tour Down Under

Qantas has advised its customers that up to 22 January 2017, “Qantas is anticipating a large number of customers travelling with bikes for the Santos Tour Down Under cycling event. 

“Due to the aircraft’s limited cargo capacity and the large volume of sporting equipment requiring transport at this time, Qantas cannot guarantee the bike will travel on the same flight as the customer. 

“All customers are encouraged to register their intent to travel with a bike to help Qantas cater for the demand. 

“We also encourage you to let customers know to get to the airport for check-in earlier than expected in case of delays at check-in if there are a large number of bikes.”

The opening stage was scheduled to finish with three laps of a 26.5km circuit through South Australia’s famed wine-growing region, but on the first of those laps, race director Mike Turtur and rider representative Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) conferred and agreed to remove one lap of the finishing circuit because of the intense heat.

As a result the stage has been reduced from 145km to 118.5km.

Written by Peter Needham

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