STUART O’GRADY ANNOUNCED AS NEW RACE DIRECTOR FOR THE SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER
South Australian Cycling and Olympic Champion, Stuart O’Grady has been announced as the new Race Director for the Santos Tour Down Under.
Stuart O’Grady’s appointment follows the announcement of inaugural Race Director Mike Turtur’s retirement at the end of the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under.
As a former professional cyclist, and winner of the first Santos Tour Down Under, O’Grady brings over 19 years of international professional cycling experience to the race, and a roll-call of racing wins throughout his cycling career.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said: “Stuart is a proud South Australian, and an international professional cyclist who comes to this role with significant endorsements from the international cycling community. Having Stuart working closely with Mike Turtur this year will provide him with a strong platform and transition on which to build his own style of race for 2021.
“The appointment of a home-grown cycling legend ensures the Santos Tour Down Under will be passionately guided into its next era, after the extraordinary leadership of Mike Turtur for more than two decades.”
Stuart O’Grady said his appointment is a great challenge and opportunity.
“My appointment to this role really is the pinnacle in my career. I have lived my life and career with the international cycling community, so this is a defining professional and personal moment for me.
“I’m excited that I will be delivering a race in my hometown, with one that I competed in, won and have watched grow its cycling participation and fan-base over the years.”
Stuart added that it was a privilege to call himself Race Director of the Santos Tour Down Under from 2021.
“I am looking forward to developing my vision, and a creative race that will lead to the ongoing growth of the men’s competition and to the overall race itself.”
Stuart said that although they are big shoes to fill, he is looking forward to the challenge and is relishing the opportunity to create a new story for the Santos Tour Down Under through his directorship.
“Obviously Mike is a huge part of this race, the professional cycling community and the Santos Tour Down Under. He has a lot of learned knowledge that I will be hoping to capture during my time with him over the next few months” said Stuart.
Events South Australia Executive Director, Hitaf Rasheed said: “We ran a comprehensive process to ensure we got the right person for this important role and we believe Stuart is that person. We are excited about what he will bring to the role which has been filled so brilliantly by Mike Turtur over 22 years.”
Outgoing Race Director Mike Turtur said the appointment was an important one for the future.
“We needed the right person, experience, fit, and someone who had an appetite to deliver a vision and really embrace the race with their own personality and someone ready to put their own stamp on it.”
Mike added that Stuart showed incredible passion for the role.
“He has terrific experience, networks and relationships globally, which will also bring new opportunities to the race and for South Australia.”
“Stuart’s enthusiasm and energy and his desire to keep evolving the event as Australia’s Greatest Cycling Race and one of the most respected races on the WorldTour Calendar is a key ingredient to the success of his appointment,” said Mike.
Stuart will start work in December and will work closely with Mike over the coming months leading into the 2020 race. Mike will stay on in a mentoring role for 12 months through to the 2021 event.
Quote from Gerry Ryan OAM (owner Mitchelton-SCOTT Racing):
“The Santos Tour Down Under is now recognised as one of the best bike races in the world and there is no doubt that Mike Turtur has played a huge part in that. I believe you have selected the best person who can keep the Tour Down Under at the forefront of World Cycling.
Stuart has always been a leader and led by example. When I decided to start Australia’s first World Tour team back in 2011, Stuart was the first cyclist I approached to lead this team. It was a tough decision for Stuart to make as he was the road captain for one of the biggest teams in Europe and had led them to victory in the TDF. But Stuart’s passion for Australia won out and he was one of the main reasons GreenEdge became one of the leading teams in such a short time.
There is no one in Australian Cycling and few in the world who have the contact network and respect that Stuart has gained from more than 20 years in the world peloton. He has amazing relationships with most of the World Team owners and Sports Directors.”
About Stuart O’Grady:
A former two times World Champion on the track, Stuart O’Grady rode in 6 Olympic Games, and won four medals in total. He competed in the Tour de France 17 times and he wore the yellow jersey of GC leader at the TDF in 1998 and 2001. O’Grady also competed in the Paris-Roubaix 17 times, and his biggest career win came in 2007 as the first Australian to take first place at the one-day road race in Northern France.
He also competed at 3 Commonwealth Games, 2 World Championships and was the Race Director for Revolve24, a 24-hour endurance bike race in 2019 (which he will also fill in 2020).
O’Grady is the current President of the South Australian chapter of the Australian Olympic Committee.
O’Grady is a two-time winner of the Santos Tour Down Under, winning the inaugural race in 1999 and won the race again in 2001.