The Tour Down Under is a cycling race in and around Adelaide, South Australia. The race attracts riders from all over the world. In 2005, the Tour Down Under was promoted by the Union Cycliste Internationale to the highest ranking outside Europe. In 2007 Premier Mike Rann and tourism minister Jane Lomax Smith launched a campaign for the Tour Down Under to become the first race outside of Europe to secure ProTour status from the UCI. ProTour status would guarantee all the world's top teams. 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.
In September 2008 Rann said Lance Armstrong would make his comeback at the 2009 race. Armstrong's participation saw visitor numbers doubled, the economic impact more than doubled (from $17.3 million in 2008 to $39 million in 2009) and media coverage increased five-fold. The 2010 Tour Down Under was named Australia's Best Major Event for the second year in a row in the Qantas Tourism Awards. Armstrong participated in three successive Tour Down Under events, retiring after 2011. The 2011 Tour Down Under had an economic impact of $43 million and crowds of more than 782,000. In 2013, it attracted more than 760,400 people to Adelaide and regional South Australia across eight days, including 40,000 interstate and international visitors who travelled there for the event.
The Tour generally features stages surrounding Adelaide, from flat to undulating. There are no mountains, giving climbers few opportunities. One climb involves two laps of Willunga Hill, a 3 km climb at an average of 7.6%. However most tour stages finish as a bunch sprint.
South Australia in late January is often hot. Daily maximum temperatures approaching or exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) are not uncommon.
Leaders of competitions within the race wear a distinctive jersey.
The Ochre jersey is awarded to the rider with the lowest cumulative time at the end of each stage and to the winner at the end. Ochre is associated with Australia and the Tour Down Under is unique in having it for the leader's jersey.
The Sprint jersey is awarded to the rider with most points and time bonuses awarded to the first three riders across the line at points along the route and at the finish.
The King of the Mountain jersey is awarded to the rider with most points awarded to the first five riders over climbs.
The Young rider’s jersey is awarded to the leading rider under 23 at the end of each stage.
The Most aggressive rider’s jersey is worn by the rider who instigated most attacks, breakaways or helped team-mates to best advantage during the stage.
The Winning team jersey goes to the team with the lowest cumulative time by its four best riders on each of the six stages.
Be Active Tour
Participants in the 2005 Be Active Tour at Angaston
The Tour Down Under has a companion event, the Be Active Tour, a recreational events held over the route. The inaugural event in 2003 was known as the Breakaway Tour and attracted more than 600 riders. In 2004 riders increased to 1,400 and the event was known as the Be Active Tour. The 2005 tour saw more than 1,900 riders leave Salisbury, Williamstown and Angaston in 30 °C (86 °F) to tackle the hills and roads of stage 2. In 2006, riders rode 154 km from Strathalbyn to Yankalilla in temperatures in excess of 40 °C (104 °F). The heat took its toll on riders and a heat policy now exists.
In 2007 the name changed to Mutual Community Challenge Tour and it was joined by the Mutual Community Fun Tour and Powerade mini-tour for children. The new events are to increase the popularity of the event and attract people who do not ride regularly. In 2010 there were over 8,000 participants.
Women's Criterium Series
There used to be a women's criterium series of three street circuits. This was sponsored by UniSA and held at the same place as the men's race, or at the end of the men's race. For 2011 there was a two-race series called the Rendition Homes Santos Women’s Cup.