The European teams arrived in Australia to train and prepare for the first Pro-Tour race outside its usual borders. The
Tour Down Under is the first ever race outside Europe that became a Pro-Tour status. Last years winner will try to defend
his title but other teams will try to get some Pro-Tour points as well. The Australian riders are always highly motivated
to achieve a top result in their home country.
Martin Elmiger will lead French team AG2R but it won't be easy to repeat his 2007 overall win. Aussie Stuart
O' Grady (CSC) will be keen to win the race as well. With Matthew Goss team CSC has another Aussie in the line-up for
the Tour Down Under. Silence-Lotto will start with three Australian riders: Robbie McEwen, Nick gates and Australian National
Road Champion Matthew Lloyd. Simon Gerrans will lead credit Agricole, teammate Mark Renshaw will also go for a good result.
Igor Astarloa is the man for the overall for German Pro-Tour team Milram. Bouyges Telecom could surprise on the hilly route:
Xavier Florencio is able to achieve a top result. Adam Hansen (Team High Road) showed great form at the Australian
national Championships, the Australian National ITT Champion and runner up of the national road race will go for a top spot
as well. Gerolsteiners's Heinrich haussler and Philippe Gilbert (FD Jeux) are made for the 2008 route of the Tour Down Under.
Sprinter Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) would like to win a bunch sprint but Allan Davis (Australia, UNI SA) and Robbie McEwen
will give him a hard time.
South Australia will have a chance to celebrate the Tour Down Under's elevation to UCI ProTour status at an official welcome
parade in the city next Tuesday morning.
City workers, cycling fans and spectators are able to line King William Street from 8am on Tuesday 22 January for a colourful
parade of team cars, bikes and the best cyclists in the world.
Balloons will be released at about 9.20am to signify the arrival of UCI ProTour in South Australia.
Premier Mike Rann says it will be a chance for fans to cheer on the cyclists and celebrate the Tour Down Under's step up
into the greatest cycling league in the world.
"This is an historic moment," Premier Rann says. "We are the first place outside of Europe to host a leg of the prestigious
UCI ProTour race.
"It's a momentous achievement for a race that has gone from strength to strength each year.
"UCI ProTour has brought with it more teams, more riders and the kind of worldwide television and media saturation that
money cannot buy.
"Tuesday's official welcome parade will be a chance for South Australians to come out in force to celebrate the UCI ProTour's
arrival in our State - and the Tour Down Under's 10th birthday."
The welcome parade, hosted by Adelaide City Council, will precede the official start of Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under
from Mawson Lakes to Angaston on Tuesday.
Lord Mayor Michael Harbison says thousands of people are expected to line King William Street to see their cycling heroes,
with the parade taking place from 8.30am to 9.30am.
"South Australia has a proud history of celebrating its sporting successes and the arrival of the UCI ProTour league in
our State is no exception," Mr Harbison says.
"Our city and State are now the first stop in world cycling and the council delighted to take a lead role in marking this
significant occasion in our State's history."