Mark Cavendish has effectively been banned from riding pre-Tour Down Under warm-up races in Australia by the event’s organiser.
Cavendish is attending the Tour Down Under, Adelaide, in January with his travel expenses paid for by the organiser, according to Australian newspaper the Age. TdU organisers evidently consider that if they pay for Cavendish’s attendance, it is them that should reap the benefit of his appearance in Australia.
John Craven, race director of the Australian open road championships in Ballarat, is one of the organisers to lose out on the particiapation of visiting cycling stars.
“It’s my understanding that the Tour Down Under writes into all overseas riders’ contracts that they are here to ride one event only,” Craven told the Age.
“Good luck to them, they run a wonderful event for Australian cycling, but it’s a closed shop as far as dishing any of their riders out to other events.”
Early this year Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia squad entered three riders in the open championships prior to the 2010 TdU, including German sprinter Andre Greipel. The trio were withdrawn at the last minute causing embarrassment to the organisers who had widely advertised their participation.
Next season, 2010 Tour Down Under winner Greipel will be riding against Cavendish in the sprints. Greipel left HTC to join Omega Pharma-Lotto for 2011, and the Tour Down Under will be the first race that the pair have ridden against each other. Tyler Farrar will be hoping to outwit both riders in the bunch gallops to give the newly formed Garmin-Cervelo team its first WorldTour win.
The Tour Down Under takes place over January 16-23 2011, and is the first UCI WorldTour event on the UCI’s new World Calendar.