It's prime time for sports in Australia this week with the kick off of both the tennis and cycling seasons. While the Australian Opens begins the season on the court, the Tour Down Under begins the season on the road for professional cycling teams.
The Tour Down Under went big time last year when Lance Armstrong made his return to professional cycling at the event. This year with Team Radio Shack, Armstrong is hoping his team picks up a stage win to gain momentum (mostly from a sponsorship standpoint) heading into the 2010 season.
The race, in its 12th year, has generally been won by those strong in sprints -- not a speciality of Armstrong so a podium placement for Lance is probably not in the cards when the nine-stage race ends on Sunday. But, in an article in Cycling News, he cited teammate Gert Steegmans as a rider to watch.
The first stage was won by German sprinter Andre Greipel of HTC-Columbia. Greipel won the Tour Down Under in 2008.
For those who have Versus from their cable or satellite provider (such is sadly not the case for me) you can watch daily coverage of the Tour Down Under. If not, look for daily recaps at Cycling News, VeloNews and the official Tour Down Under website. There also is always Twitter. You can find the sites for individual cyclists at twitter-athletes.com.