The Tour Down Under is set to see a rematch between the Tour de France’s top two sprinters as Robbie
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A sprint showdown will be a highlight of the 2006 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under with confirmation that two-time Tour de France green jersey champion Robbie McEwen will go head to head with the 2005 green jersey winner Thor Hushovd in Adelaide in January.
McEwen has won 11 stages of the Tour Down Under since 2000 and this season amassed 23 victories. They included three stages of the Tour de France, three stages of the Giro d’Italia and three stages of the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under, and the Queenslander has not intention of letting his Norwegian rival steal his thunder on home turf.
“If I’m going any good then I want to win stages and even if I’m not going so good I want to win stages and I’ll find a way,” said McEwen, who is looking forward to doing battle with Hushovd. “He won the Tour green jersey but I showed I was the fastest.
“But it’s not always about being the absolute fastest, it’s about being consistent and he rode well and picked up some points on days that I didn’t.
“It’s great for the race to have him here,” said McEwen. “It means South Australians and fans who travel from around Australia and the world can witness first hand in January the intensity and excitement of what goes on in July in France.”
Joining McEwen in the Davitamon-Lotto team is Cadel Evans, who delivered on his promise as a grand tour rider when he finished eighth overall in his Tour de France debut.
“My 2006 season will revolve around the Tour de France so the Tour Down Under will be a perfect race for me to get some solid work in,” said Evans. “The stages are not too hard and I always love to race in Australia as much as I can.”
Also returning to Adelaide is Tour de France rider Johan Vansummeren, who finished fourth overall on the TDU this year. Debuting with the Belgian team is Nic Sanderson, a graduate of the Cycling Australia-AIS Development Program. The young Victorian was the bronze medallist in the junior road race at the World Championships in 2002 and was a silver medallist at this year’s Australian Madison Championships.
The TDU organisers have also confirmed the entry of the Belgian-registered Chocolade Jacques continental team for next year’s race.
Davitamon-Lotto: Robbie McEwen, Wim Vansevenant, Cadel Evans, Johan Vansummeren, Henk Vogels, Mario Aerts, Nick Gates, Nic Sanderson
Team Manager: Hendrik Redant
Chocolade Jacques: Steven Caethoven, Glenn D’hollander, Frederick Willems, Wesley Van Der Linden, Kurt Hovelijnck, Dimitri de Fauw, Serge Pauwels, Jens Renders
Team Manager: Walter Planckaert