Sorting out the 2011 Tour Down Under bike race schedule

I'd recommend adjusting the volume on this, especially at work…

Next week's 2011 Santos Tour Down Under might be the last hurrah for Lance Armstrong as a competing cyclist on foreign soil, but there are plenty of other hot shots traveling to Australia to make the competition interesting.

Those interested in tracking the live action will have to remember there are some confusing time zone calculations to make. I've tried to sort them out here.

Times and dates

Keep in mind that the Australia is 15-1/2 hours ahead of ET and 18-1/2 hours ahead of PT. That creates some mental juggling to keep track of times here in the US and on TV.

For instance, Stage 1 begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Mawson Lakes; that's 7:30 p.m. on Monday in New York and 4:30 p.m. in Seattle. The Stage 1 results will be televised on the Versus cable network beginning at 6 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday.

The event starts with the Cancer Council Classic, a 51km circuit road race in Adelaide that called a preview, and not part of the actual race.

Here's the Versus TV schedule (note live streaming at 9:30 p.m. Saturday):

5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16 — Tour Down Under Cancer Council Classic preview show
6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17 — Interview with Lance Armstrong
6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18 — TDU Stage 1
6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 — TDU Stage 2
6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20 — TDU Stage 3
6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21 — TDU Stage 4
6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 — TDU Stage 5
9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 — Live streaming Stage 6 at
5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 — TDU Stage 6 and wrap up

The real-time schedule of the Tour Down Under in Australia and ET/PT:

Cancer Classic preview — 6:45 – 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, Adelaide, 51km (3:15 – 4:30 a.m. Sunday, ET; 12:15 – 1:30 a.m. PT)

Stage 1 — 11 a.m. – 2:29 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, Mawson Lakes to Angaston, 138 km (7:30 – 11 p.m. Monday, ET; 4:30 – 8 p.m. PT)

Stage 2 — 11 a.m. – 2:41 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, Tailem Bend to Mannum, 146km (7:30 – 11:11 p.m. Tuesday, ET; 4:30 – 8:11 p.m. PT)

Stage 3 — 11 a.m. – 2:34 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, Unley to Stirling, 129km (7:30 – 11:04 p.m. Wednesday, ET; 4:30 – 8:04 p.m., PT)

Stage 4 — 11 a.m. – 2:28 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, Norwood to Strathalbyn, 124km (7:30 – 10:58 p.m. Thursday, ET; 4:30 – 7:58 p.m. PT)

Stage 5 — 11 a.m. – 2:19 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, McLaren Vale to Willunga, 131km (7:30 – 10:49 p.m. Friday, ET; 4:30 – 7:49 p.m. PT)

Stage 6 — 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, Adelaide circuit race, 90km (9:45 – 11:45 p.m. Saturday, ET; 6:45 – 8:45 p.m. PT) will provide a live text feed of the Tour Down Under, and in previous years ABC local radio (you may need plug-ins for your browser) offered news from the finish line toward the end of the stages.

Also, check for links to live internet coverage throughout the race.

The competition

Competing for the first time will be sprinter Mark Cavendish, left, a member of HTC-Columbia and the career winner of 15 stages of the Tour de France. A host of other sprinters will join him in the hunt for stage wins, as well as the overall championship.

Among them are two-time winner and defending champ Andre Greipel, formerly of Columbia but now racing for Omega Pharma-Lotto. American Tyler Farrar, riding for Garmin-Transitions, is looking forward to challenging his nemisis as well.

Other sprinters include Aussie Robbie McEwen, who switched to Armstrong's RadioShack team over the winter, Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank), Allan Davis (2009 winner, Astana), and Gerald Ciolek (QuickStep).

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