Greipel returns to defend Tour Down Under crown

German rider to race in January

Team Columbia's Andre Greipel will return to defend his title at next January's Tour Down Under in Australia, Race Director Mike Turtur said today.

The German won this year's event in South Australia in dominant fashion beating Australian Allan Davis by 15 seconds to take the opening UCI ProTour race of the season.

Greipel went on to finish fifth overall in the ProTour rider rankings this year.

Turtur said Team Columbia will be bringing an experienced team for the 18-25 January tour in and around Adelaide.

"This year Andre Greipel had the best season of his career, all set on a solid foundation of victory at the 2008 Tour Down Under," Turtur said.

"Team Columbia is sending a very strong line-up to compete at the 2009 Tour Down Under.

"The inclusion of an experienced rider such as George Hincapie, who is a reliable and solid competitor, will really add to our world-class cycling spectacle."

A 13-time Tour de France veteran, Hincapie was a former teammate of Lance Armstrong and played an important role in all of the American great's seven Tour de France victories.

"The Tour Down Under will be the first time that Hincapie and Armstrong will compete against each other on opposing teams," Turtur said.

The Team Columbia roster for the 2009 Tour Down Under will include Greipel, Hincapie, Michael Rogers (AUS), Bernhard Eisel (AUT), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Greg Henderson (NZ) and Adam Hansen (AUS).

The 2002 Tour Down Under winner Rogers will be making his return to the event for the first time since 2005.'s coverage of the 2008 Tour Down Under.

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