• The future of the Santos Tour Down Under has been confirmed (AAP)Source: AAP
The Tour Down Under will retain its place as the first event in cycling's WorldTour calendar, the South Australian government said.

23 Sep 2015 - 7:39 PM  UPDATED 23 Sep 2015 - 7:41 PM

Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said the International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed the status of the Adelaide race following a two-year review of WorldTour events.

"The Santos Tour Down Under is a fully-fledged sporting and tourism success story and today's announcement gives us certainty it will continue to be a UCI WorldTour event," Bignell told parliament on Wednesday.

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He said the UCI's decision, which came during the world championships at Richmond in the United States, ended speculation over the future of the Tour Down Under.

“I have worked closely with Tracey Gaudry and Brian Cookson to ensure this brilliant result for the state and I thank them very much for continuing to support South Australia," Bignell said.

“The State Government works hard each year to grow the event and the festival we have created around the race to ensure it remains appealing and attracts more spectators.”

Bignell said the January 2015 event attracted more than 780,000 spectators and contributed $50 million to the state's economy.

The 2016 race will be run from 16-24 January.

“The confirmation of the Santos Tour Down Under as the season opener in the Men's WorldTour confirms the event’s rightful place at the pinnacle of world cycling," Vice President of the UCI and head of the Oceanian Cycling Confederation, Tracey Gaudry said.