Dunno if you've been following it, but over the last couple of weeks Cycling Central has been airing disagreement between Michael Drapac and Mike Turtur. Turtur has copped a bit of flack from interstate cycling fans over this- I'm interested in your local viewpoints..http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/news/18546/Feature:-TDU-boss-b...
The back-story is Drapac, who owns the Australian Pro Continental Drapac-Porsche team, is miffed that he can't get a start in the TDU. He argues that TDU being a Pro Race with exclusively international pro teams (+ Uni SA as the token Aust entry) is actually harming the development of local professional teams. IE. His team.
Sure he has a point. TDU operates under the UCI status and is quite removed from the rest of the Australian racing scene. On the other hand, How amazing is it that we have a race which sets Australian cycling up on the world stage, and how raises the profile of the sport for local fans, as well as encouraging young Aussie racing hopefuls.
It's unrealistic to expect the event to be all things to all people. It simply cannot be both a top-line pro event at the same time as developing all Australian talent.
However I would love to see the wildcard system used to better effect. Like with UniSA, but lets try and get a couple of the Continental teams into the mix. Pegasus and Drapac too if there is room. The Vuelta seems to find room for lots of their local Spanish teams.. (is that a UCI event??)
And as a $spending/ attending TDU fan, I'd be more excited to see Robbie + some other upcoming Australian talent, rather than paying for Lance-I used to be pretty good but now I'm retired-Armstrong to trundle around again.