Grace Brown and Amanda Spratt Returning to the Santos Tour Down Under
Two of Australia’s greatest cycling talents have confirmed their places on the start line at the Santos Tour Down Under in 2024.
Reigning champion Grace Brown of French team FDJ-SUEZ will look to go back-to-back on home soil, after outsprinting three-time overall race winner Amanda Spratt on the finish line in 2023.
National time trial champion Grace Brown had another successful 2023 campaign, taking the individual time trial silver medal at the World Championships in Glasgow.
Likewise, Amanda Spratt will look to kick-start her 2024 season after placing in the top 10 at the latest Tour De France Femmes and securing her position as leader of the Lidl-Trek team, which she joined this year.
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Stuart O’Grady OAM said securing the likes of Brown and Spratt to contest next year’s race was a major coup.
“We are thrilled to announce that so many UCI Women’s WorldTour teams have so far made the commitment to travel to Adelaide in January and compete at the Santos Tour Down Under,” Mr O’Grady said.
“To have so many world-class riders is a testament to our event and the continued growth and popularity of women’s cycling.”
The Santos Tour Down Under women’s race was elevated to Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Women’s WorldTour status last year – the highest level of international racing.
Reigning champion Brown said she was excited about returning to Adelaide and tackling the iconic Willunga Hill on Sunday 14 January for the first time at Women’s WorldTour level.
“The 2023 Tour Down Under was a perfect season start for me and my FDJ SUEZ team. It was really special and exciting for me to take the lead of the race on the final day surrounded by Aussie fans and my family,” Brown said.
“We are hoping for similar success in the upcoming addition and will bring another strong team to challenge for the victory. The three stages look well rounded, with opportunities for sprinters, puncheurs, and climbers.”
Amanda Spratt is the most successful female rider in the history of the Santos Tour Down Under, securing three successive general classification victories between 2017 and 2019.
“It’s always exciting to start a new season at the Santos Tour Down Under and in 2024, there’s a little more to look forward to with the addition of Willunga Hill to the women’s WorldTour race for the first time. I can’t deny that I have my eyes set on a good performance there, it’s a big goal of mine,” Spratt said.
“Overall, I have great memories of this race having won it three times and I am eager to try to replicate that success this time. I was close last year, agonisingly close you could say, so I am really motivated to come back to race for the victory all over again.
“This is a special week for Australian cycling, the atmosphere is really incredible, and you can really feel the energy from the fans on every stage. It’s also so important to me because it’s a race where I have so much personal roadside support as well and my parents who make the trip, along with many people from where I come from in the Blue Mountains.”
Brown and Spratt will take to the start line on Friday 12 January alongside fellow Santos Tour Down Under winner, 2020 champion Ruth Edwards (nee Winder), who is coming out of retirement to compete with Human Powered Health, alongside teammate Henrietta Christie – last year’s overall Young Rider jersey winner.
They will be joined by French national champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot and USA Olympic track teammates and medallists, Lily Williams and Megan Jastrab.
Fellow Australians in the peloton also include this year’s Australian Road National Champion, Brodie Chapman and Adelaide local veteran Tiffany Cromwell from Canyon-SRAM Racing.
Women’s WorldTour teams confirmed for the 2024 Santos Tour Down Under to date are:
- Team Jayco Alula
- FDJ Suez
- UAE Team ADQ
- Team Jumbo-Visma
- Team DSM-Firmenich
- Human Powered Health Cycling