It’s January, so the items in the cycling press are either about doping or races taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. And I’m so tired of reading and talking about drugs that all I gotta say is, “Hallelujah for Australia.”

  • First up are the Australian Open Road Championships. Aussie Robbie McEwen is hoping to take part at Buninyong near Ballarat, Victoria this coming Sunday, saying, “The course is a bit selective and is always hard in January.” I’d guess it’d be a harder course if it were in, say, Minnesota in January. But maybe that’s just me.
  • Next is the 2007 edition of the Tour Down Under, which runs from 16-21 January. Last year, Simon Gerrans became the first rider in the race’s eight-year history to wear the leader’s jersey from the first stage right through to the last. Who will make history this year?

If you needed another excuse to visit Australia, these races might just fit the bill. And with cheap international plane tickets on offer and an Australia Travel Guide to help you figure out what to do when you’re not watching a bike race, what more could you ask for?