Tour Down Under controversy
January 28, 2008 03:15pm
READ below for a full transcript from the Mornings program on ABC 891 hosted by Matthew Abraham and David Bevan which included guests Duncan McFetridge and Mike Turtur.
COMPERE: Were you interested in the Tour Down Under? Now a lot of people were. A lot of people were very, very excited about it.
Duncan McFetridge is the Shadow Minister for a number of things, including Tourism I think and he lives down the - around Holdfast Bay which featured in the Tour Down Under. And he rang me this morning and he said, David, David, David, David, big fan. I think it's a great event but it's a B-Grade event.
Duncan McFetridge joins us now. Good morning.
For more information and stories on Tour Down under visit the feature section.
DUNCAN MCFETRIDGE: Good morning Matt. Good morning David. I'm not tourism but certainly I'm the transport spokesperson and cycling's a bit part of it and you always sound like a heretic when you question these sorts of events like the Tour Down Under. But people have been coming up to me and saying, well where are the world top riders? Is this a B-Grade event? You know, how much did we pay for the licence and I just want to be sure that this is going to be the event that we want it to be. My grand kid's saying that you can't get, you can't buy this exposure, but we have. I understand that we've bought the licence. We've paid millions, millions to put this event on and so let's make sure taxpayers are getting a real bang for their buck.
Jane Lomax Smith said last night we can't talk about the finances, it's commercial in confidence. But why haven't we been able to attract a naming sponsor? Why aren't the best riders, the top riders, the winners of the Tour de France down here? Is it just a training event, as Patrick Jonker intimated in this morning's Advertiser? Let's get the answers.
COMPERE: Do you stand by what you said to me earlier this morning, that is you consider it a B-Grade event?
DUNCAN MCFETRIDGE: That's the question I asked on Saturday night at the Legends dinner. Is this a B-Grade event? The people there obviously assured me it wasn't. But when you read about the fact that in this morning's 'Tiser they're - the races that Alberto, and this is Alberto Contador, who's the winner of the Tour de France and Cadel Evans will race pre-Tour, will be seen as training, I do have those concerns.
I don't want to sound like a heretic. This is a fantastic event for South Australia. Millions -
thousands of people got out there and the Government paid millions of dollars to put the event on. Let's make sure it's going to keep growing and it's not going to peak too early like some of these cyclists are worried about it doing.
COMPERE: Mike Turtur is the event manager for Tour Down Under. He joins us now. Good morning Mike.
MIKE TURTUR: Good morning.
COMPERE: Is the Tour Down Under a B-Grade event?
MIKE TURTUR: I think that's a disgraceful, ill informed comment by someone that just doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to the sport of cycling. If he's going to stand in front of Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwan and all the host of other riders that we had for this event and tell them that they're B-Graders, he wouldn't last too long.
COMPERE 2: In terms of percentage of the, what is it, 100 or so people who are riding in the event, how many would be classed as top riders in the world?
MIKE TURTUR: Well you tell me how many pro tour riders there are in the world?
COMPERE 2: I wouldn't know Mike, you're the event manager
MIKE TURTUR: They're all - you just listen to me for a minute. If you had some time to do some research instead of going off half cocked about comments that you don't know nothing about, the reality is that in the world, as we speak, there's 450 pro tour riders, in the world. In the world. Do you understand we're talking about the elite competition of the world here and to make a comment about Contador not coming here. He's a tour rider. You don't understand the way that the tour riders prepare for the year. That's a fact.
COMPERE 2: No, Mike Turtur, I think you should, Mike Turtur I think you - if I could just finish. I think you should be quite clear in your mind
MIKE TURTUR: You're talking absolute rubbish. You've got no idea what you're talking about. You're
COMPERE 2: Mike, we're asking you a question
MIKE TURTUR: You're a politician going off half cocked, trying to win some brownie points about an event that is one of the best quality events in the world. The riders that were here represent 18 pro-tour teams that hold licences in the world and you're going off talking about stuff you know nothing about. Here
COMPERE: Well I think you're addressing those comments to Duncan McFetridge, not 891 Mornings.
MIKE TURTUR: I'm addressing them to everyone that thinks they know more about the sport than they do and that's the reality, that we've got
COMPERE: Mike, you've got - you've got to help us
MIKE TURTUR: you've got bread and butter journalists in this state and country that don't understand the sport and want to get five minutes of fame by talking absolute crap.
COMPERE: Mike, that's why we're talking to you Mike. So we've talked to Duncan McFetridge. I thought
MIKE TURTUR: Duncan McFetridge doesn't know what he's talking about.
COMPERE: Well, Mike, Mike, I thought in this state we were able to have discussions about these things but
MIKE TURTUR: Well we are having
COMPERE: without being
MIKE TURTUR: So what's your next question?
COMPERE: without being howled down. Well my next question is how much did this race cost the taxpayers of South Australia?
MIKE TURTUR: That's not for me to say. You'd have to talk to the Government about that. I'm a consultant on the race.
MIKE TURTUR: If you want to discuss budget you need to talk to the minister or the premier.
COMPERE: All right. Well the other thing that Duncan McFetridge raised was we aren't able to get a naming sponsor. Can you explain why that is?
MIKE TURTUR: Because the right deal hasn't been put on the table. We've had about five deals on the table that weren't at their required level. We're not going to sell the race just for the sake of keeping everyone happy for a naming rights sponsor. When the right deal is on the table, the deal will be done. Until that happens, would you go and sell a car for $5,000 less than its worth?
COMPERE: Well I think any money would be better - would help the taxpayer's
MIKE TURTUR: No, no, no, this is where you're wrong. No it's not. You just don't go flogging yourself just to get a deal on the table. You wait for the right deal and then just be patient and then it will happen.
COMPERE: Okay. We've been waiting a while. At four minutes to nine, let's go back to Duncan McFetridge.
Duncan, would you like to respond?
DUNCAN MCFETRIDGE: Look, I rest my case. Mike Turtur's getting paid as consultant. Why isn't he selling this event and getting a naming rights sponsor? This is a terrific event. There is no doubt. Mike Turtur got an award on Saturday night for this event. He's done a great job but don't start hammering me about asking questions on behalf of taxpayers as a Member of Parliament, please. And don't start haranguing me for asking honest, open questions about where this event is going to go and just label me as the heretic. And I said they'd do this and he's done it.
Mike Turtur you want to look at yourself and look at the event and make sure we do go forward. I'm not here to criticise the event per se, it's a great event, but let's make sure that it isn't just about spin, it's about substance.
COMPERE 2: Well Duncan McFetridge, thank you for your time. The Shadow Transport Minister and Member for Hol - round down by the Holdfast Bay area.
Our phone lines are open. What do you think about this? 1300 222 891. Stephen has called from Parafield Gardens.
Good morning Stephen.
STEPHEN: Yeah good morning boys. Yeah, I remember the Grand Prix when it was in Adelaide. Mr Olsen did a pretty good job of getting rid of that from opposition. Now McFetridge is going down the same track.
COMPERE 2: Are we not allowed to ask questions, Stephen?
STEPHEN: Well doesn't everybody agree it's a good thing? Why do all these events have to make huge profits?
COMPERE: Oh look, they're things we weighs - they're things we weigh up Stephen. I think we do that all the time. We do that with the V8 Supercars. You know, there are knockers and there are people who are mad over heels with it. It's just the way it goes.
COMPERE: Linda's called from Para Hills. Hello Linda.
LINDA: Hi, how are you?
COMPERE: Very well Linda.
LINDA: I thought I'd just ask Duncan a question but he's gone now.
COMPERE: Well ask him metaphorically anyway.
LINDA: Well metaphorically, on the Saturday when we were down at the Bay, all Saturday evening and right through the morning they laid all this asphalt round where the tour was going to go and on Sunday, they pulled it all up again. And I was just wondering what the expense of that was and whether the State Government paid that or whether Holdfast Bay had to pay that. It was for the bikes to go round and make the turn where the tramline is.
COMPERE: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. They covered over the tramlines.
COMPERE: Look, we've made some (indistinct)
LINDA: (Indistinct) listening
COMPERE: Oh no
LINDA: Maybe someone can get an answer for me.
COMPERE: We'll get some answers. We can go back to Mike Turtur on that one.
COMPERE 2: Thank you for your call Linda from Para Hills.
Mike Turtur, event manager of the Tour Down Under. Mike, can you give us any idea how much those sorts of things were costing?
No, I'm sorry. Mike's gone.
COMPERE 2: Well I think Mike made it quite clear where he was coming from. Thank you Mike Turtur, event manager with the Tour Down Under and Duncan McFetridge the Shadow Transport Minister.
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Mike Turtur lashes MP over Tour Down Under criticism
January 28, 2008 03:00pm
TOUR Down Under race director Mike Turtur has lashed a prominent state politician over "disgraceful, ill-informed" criticism of the event.
Responding to comments made by Liberal transport spokesman Duncan McFetridge on ABC radio this morning, Mr Turtur said Mr McFetridge and hosts Matthew Abraham and David Bevan were talking "absolute rubbish".
Mr McFetridge questioned whether the Tour was simply a "B-Grade" event.
To read the transcript from this morning click here.
Claiming not to want to sound like a "heretic", Mr McFetridge said he had concerns about the event's standing.
"We've paid millions, millions to put this event on and so let's make sure taxpayers are getting a real bang for their buck," he said.
"Why aren't the best riders, the top riders, the winners of the Tour de France down here?
For more information and stories on Tour Down under visit the feature section.
"Is it just a training event, as Patrick Jonker intimated in this morning's Advertiser? Let's get the answers."
Mr Turtur's heated response came soon after as he responded on-air to the criticism.
"I think that's a disgraceful, ill-informed comment by someone that just doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to the sport of cycling," Mr Turtur said.
"If he's going to stand in front of Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwan and all the host of other riders that we had for this event and tell them that they're B-Graders, he wouldn't last too long."
As the hosts of the morning program continued to question the event in terms of taxpayer money spent to keep it running and Tour de France winner Alberto Contador not taking part in the event, Mr Turtur became increasingly incensed.
"Do you understand we're talking about the elite competition of the world here?" he said.
"(Contador's) a tour rider. You don't understand the way tour riders prepare for the year. That's a fact.
"You're talking absolute rubbish, you've got no idea what you are talking about.
"You're a politician going off half-cocked trying to win some brownie points about an event that is one of the best-quality events in the world."
Questions were also raised regarding the event's failure to secure a naming-rights sponsor.
"You don't go flogging yourself just to get a deal on the table," Mr Turtur said.
"You wait for the right deal and then just be patient and then it will happen."