Former Italian cycling superstar Mario Cipollini has pulled out of his first trip to Australia to be a special guest at the Tour Down Under next week, citing personal reasons for his decision.

Cipollini, 51, was to have ridden in the Challenge Tour on January 19 as well as being honoured at the Legends’ Night Dinner.

The sprint sensation won 42 stages at the Giro d’Italia, 12 at the Tour de France and three at the Vuelta a Espana and was the 2002 world road champion.

TDU organisers have confirmed Italian Elia Viviani, a winner of seven grand tour stages last year, will lead the Deceuninck — Quick-Step team and also be honoured at the Legends’ dinner.

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