Cycling sprint icon Mario Cipollini will make his first trip to Australia as a guest of honour at the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under. As part of his attendance, Cipollini will be riding the Challenge Tour presented by The Advertiser and will be honoured at a Legends’ Night Dinner alongside Australian cyclist Mathew Hayman.
The Challenge Tour presented by The Advertiser is the Santos Tour Down Under’s annual mass-participation ride. On Saturday 19 January 2019, Challenge Tour riders will tackle the same route as the professional riders from Glenelg to Strathalbyn.
The Santos Tour Down Under is an 11-day festival of cycling, running from 10-20 January 2019. It commences with the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under from 10-13 January, followed by the Down Under Classic (13 January) and men’s Santos Tour Down Under from 15-20 January.
“This will be my first official visit to Australia and I can’t wait to experience the Santos Tour Down Under for myself first hand,” said Cipollini.
“Australian cycling fans are passionate about this sport and I know have supported me from afar throughout my career on and off the bike. There will be lots of opportunities for me to meet the fans and share my stories about life in the peloton.
“I will be riding the Challenge Tour so expect to have company and I may even pack a special skin suit for the occasion!”
Named one of the greatest sprinters of his generation, Cipollini has 42 stage wins at the Giro d’Italia, 12 Tour de France stages, and three at the Vuelta a Espana in a career spanning almost two decades. He was also the 2002 UCI World Road Champion, earning him the rainbow stripes for the 2003 season.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway, says he expected cycling enthusiasts will be eager to hear about Cipollini’s days in the peloton. “As one of the most decorated sprinters of modern times we are sure he will be set to entertain at the Legends’ Night Dinner,” Ridgway said.
“It is also an ideal time to register to ride alongside him on the Challenge Tour for those wanting to tackle the 158 km route.”
Race Director Mike Turtur noted that “Mario Cipollini is one of the most decorated sprinters of our time, taking 57 Grand Tour stage victories, making him the second highest placed rider with this achievement behind the great Eddy Merckx with 65 victories.
“Mario was listed to ride the 2000 TDU but unfortunately did not make it with the team to the start line, so this visit has been a long time coming. We are really looking forward to welcoming him to the race.
“We know the fans will be eagerly awaiting his arrival and can’t wait to hear from him first-hand about life in the peloton and how it feels to have claimed so many Grand Tour stage wins.”
Mario Cipollini meets cycling fans at the Santos Tour Down Under:
- The City of Adelaide Tour Village on Saturday 12 January 2019 at the Team Presentation & Free Concert
- The Challenge Tour presented by The Advertiser on Saturday 19 January 2019
- Tales from the peloton as Cipollini is honoured at the Legends’ Night Dinner on Saturday 19 January 2019