A new stage route and a grass start are just two additional components to the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under held from January 20 to 27, 2013. For the first time Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills will host a start and Rostrevor will host a stage finish.
Race director Mike Turtur said both competitors and spectators would notice some striking differences this year.
"We've built the Santos Tour Down Under successfully over 15 years and it now brings in more than $42 million of economic activity. But we're always looking at ways to keep the event dynamic and constantly evolving," Mr Turtur said.
For instance, the 2013 UCI WorldTour race will include a brand new ŠKODA King of the Mountain climb at Corkscrew Hill.
"Stage two, from Mount Barker to Rostrevor, will be the shortest open road stage in the race's history at 116 kilometres and includes a gruelling new ŠKODA King of the Mountain climb on Corkscrew Hill," he said. "Riders will set off from Modbury in Bupa Stage Four, the first grass start in this event's history and, as far as I'm aware, in any other road racing event. As the largest cycling race in the southern hemisphere and the first stop on the world cycling calendar, the Santos Tour Down Under will again attract an extremely high calibre of cyclists. We will officially celebrate the event's 15th birthday on Saturday, January 19, in Victoria Square with the team presentations followed by various entertainment. Last year's event was soaked up by more than 760,000 spectators, which included more than 36,000 interstate and international visitors."
Santos chief executive David Knox said the company was proud to be the naming rights sponsor for a major event that attracted elite cyclists and visitors from around the world.
"Our announcement to extend our naming rights sponsorship until 2016 demonstrates our dedication to an event that provides the state with so much energy," he said.