Challenge Tour Riders to Conquer Stage
A new opportunity for recreational riders at the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under will feature three of Adelaide’s most exciting climbs.
The Challenge Tour will travel between the Adelaide suburbs of Norwood and Campbelltown on Friday 20 January, the same route elite riders are set to race hours later that day for the men’s Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
A trio of iconic local ascents feature: Norton Summit, Checker Hill and Corkscrew Road. Each will shape the day’s action and are sure to test amateur and professional legs alike.
The Santos Tour Down Under official participation event will also be held on closed roads for the first time, further enhancing its Union Cycliste Internationale WorldTour atmosphere.
Recreational riders can tackle the entire 123.5km stage or an 83km option, with timing, nutrition stops, and mechanical support provided for all participants.
Earlybird registration starts from $199 and closes on 30 September.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the Santos Tour Down Under was set to make a bold return to South Australia after last taking place in 2020.
“It’s always exciting to see cycling fans and spectators lining the stage routes across Adelaide and regional South Australia as they cheer on the professional peloton – and we know how much amateur riders love being in the spotlight too,” Minister Bettison said.
“The Challenge Tour provides another incentive to visit South Australia for the return of this iconic event and experience all the excitement of the Santos Tour Down Under from a unique perspective.”
Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Katrine Hildyard said South Australia had a proud cycling culture.
“The very best international athletes will return to South Australia in January, and we look forward to seeing Challenge Tour participants conquer our local roads as well,” Minister Hildyard said.
“One of the great successes of the Santos Tour Down Under is the way in which it encourages South Australians and visitors to get active and give the course a go.”
“Adventure is ahead for the recreational riders taking part – they will enjoy the buzz of this celebrated event, the thrill of crossing the finish line and all of the mental, social and physical health and wellbeing benefits that come with being involved.”
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Stuart O’Grady OAM said the Challenge Tour would highlight recreational riders’ abilities.
“Our community asked for a participation ride that celebrated their skill and strength. We’ve delivered,” he said.
“Get together with friends, build your training plan and feel the rush like never before. It’s time to set a new personal goal and prepare for the ultimate group ride.”
O’Grady said Stage 3 featured more than 2.4 kilometres of vertical ascent, plus beautiful vistas along Basket Range Road in the Adelaide Hills.
Norton Summit remains Adelaide’s favourite cycling climb. It extends for 6.3 kilometres and has an average gradient of 5.2 per cent, mixing false flats and incline spikes with distance.
Checker Hill is among the most contested King of the Mountain climbs in Santos Tour Down Under history. It lasts for 1.1 kilometres and has an average gradient of 9.4 per cent, with its steepest section a formidable 28 per cent.
Stage 3’s final test is the legendary Corkscrew Road. Its 3.3 kilometres have an average gradient of 7.1 per cent – an incline that puts even fresh legs under pressure.
“Completing these three climbs back-to-back is an achievement to be proud of – where better to do it than Australia’s greatest cycling race?!” O’Grady said.
“Whether you’re a dedicated fan of the Santos Tour Down Under or ready to experience it for the first time, we welcome you to the Challenge Tour.”
The Santos Tour Down Under is taking place in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 13-22 January 2023. It will feature nine days of elite racing for men and women.