• Australian cycling promoter Mike Turtur has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia. (AAP)Source: AAP
Tour Down Under creator and race director Mike Turtur says that back in 1984, he never imagined he could make a career from cycling in Australia.
Cycling Central

26 Jan 2018 - 7:57 AM  UPDATED 26 Jan 2018 - 7:58 AM

Becoming one of "Charlie's Angels" was a turning point for Australian cycling promoter Mike Turtur.

The "Angels" were the Charlie Walsh-coached Australian team pursuit squad that won the gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

After this win with Dean Woods, Michael Grenda and Kevin Nichols, Turtur turned his gold medal into a career.

He went from competing to coaching and finally to promoting, first with track cycling at the Adelaide Superdrome.

But it was his brainchild, the Tour Down Under, that has become Turtur's greatest achievement.

He has been the only race director for the Tour Down Under, Australia's top bike race, that marked its 20th edition this month.

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Turtur has been appointed an officer of the order of Australia (AO) for services to cycling, particularly his promotion of road cycling events and especially the Adelaide Tour.

Turtur laughed when asked what his 26-year-old self, who competed at the LA Olympics, would make of where he is now.

"I couldn't imagine it in my wildest dreams," he said.

"I would have thought there's no way I could make a living out of cycling in Australia.

"Los Angeles was obviously the turning point. Things changed after that.

"I've been blessed, really, but I've had a lot of good people with me all the way. It's a pity in some ways they're not recognised."

Turtur had special thanks for his partner, Sandy Pisani, an Olympic gold medallist in hockey, children Elli and Reece, and Walsh.

When asked about how he felt receiving the honour on a date that's controversial, Turtur said he wasn't in favour of a change.

"I haven't thought about it, to the degree that people have raised different issues," he told AAP.

"I acknowledge what's happened in the past, but I also think the day's been celebrated (on January 26) for I don't know how long - my feeling is, just leave it."

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