28 Dec 2023

How to TDU: What to see and where to be seen

So you’ve heard of the Santos Tour Down Under, you might even have friends or family that are crazy TDU fans, but what exactly is this lycra-fest all about?

Wonder no more: here’s a beginner’s guide to the TDU.

First up, the basics

First held in 1999, the Santos Tour Down Under is the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere. The ten-day action-packed festival encompasses two races, the Santos Tour Down Under men’s race and the women's race plus a calendar of festival events known as the Santos Festival of Cycling. Combining a range of associated events, mass-participation rides for kids and adults, street parties and live music - expect a massive party atmosphere across South Australia.

Okay, so what are the races?

The Santos Tour Down Under kick starts with a three-stage women's race. For the first time, the final two stages will be held across the first weekend of the event. Fans can look forward to seeing the world's best l teams and riders compete across South Australia from Friday 12 – Sunday 14 January. The same peloton will also take part in a criterium on 18 January at Victoria Park/ Pakapakanthi. Routes for the women’s race can be viewed here

The six-stage men’s race, the Santos Tour Down Under, is part of the prestigious UCI WorldTour season, with top riders and WorldTour teams coming from all over the world to compete for points towards their overall season score. The men’s race is preceded by a non-UCI WorldTour ranked race, the Down Under Classic; a fast-paced criterium race on the streets of Adelaide that allows the teams to warm up and preview their opposition for the week ahead. Check out the men's race stages here.

Check out our handy Cycling 101 Guide and read up on all the lingo you’ll hear track-side.

How do I watch the race?

For the regional stages, you’ll want to get to your viewing spot along the race route with plenty of time; we recommend arriving at least an hour before the race passes through. With an hour to spare, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the Tour Parade passing through – a convoy of fanfare, colour and giveaways, including the Santos Tour Down Under mascot Oppy the Kangaroo, and six giant cyclists mounted on vehicles. Once the Tour Parade passes through you’ll know it’s only 30 minutes before the riders whizz past.

The Down Under Classic is held on fully closed roads in the heart of the city of Adelaide. There is no vehicle access to the circuits, but there will be pedestrian crossings to allow you to find the best vantage point along the circuit. Take a folding chair or a picnic rug and watch the riders fight it out on the circuits, counting down the laps to go.

I’m not really into watching cycling. What else can I do?

Fans love that the Santos Tour Down Under isn’t just about the on-road action – there’s so much else to see and do while you’re here. If you’re not keen on donning some Lycra get your friends together and head to the regions for one of our DeTours - the ultimate Santos Tour Down Under experience. Get yourself to the City of Adelaide Tour Village in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga and enjoy meet and greets with cycling’s greatest or watch mechanics at work. A number of community events are also held throughout the festival at the stage starts and finishes - Glenelg Ice Cream Festival, Stirling Spin, BBQ Bridge and Bikes, Campbelltown Gear Up, Barossa Loop de Loop just to name a few. 

What should I take with me?

Summer is hot, hot, hot in Adelaide, so remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. Pack a hat, your sunglasses and wear sturdy shoes, especially if you’re in the regions. It’s also worth taking your smartphone or a camera with you to capture the race-day action, plus some happy snaps of your family or friends, of course.

You’ll find plenty of food and drink options in the nearby towns along the race routes, as well as start and finish locations, but remember to pack a few snacks if you’re heading to one of the Ziptrak sprint or efex King/Queen of the Mountain locations. You can take a folding chair or picnic rug, but a lot of people stand to see the riders go past – it’s too exciting!

Can I bring my bike?

Absolutely – we encourage it! The Santos Tour Down Under event also includes a number of participation rides including daily Group Rides, and the Health Partners Family Ride.

Fans also often group up and ride out to stage starts and finishes, taking in beautiful scenery and stopping in at cafes, bakeries and wineries along the way. Their rides back to the city often take place alongside the pros, using this cruise back home as their warm-down.

You can also find a wide range of Adelaide cycling maps here, and Adelaide City Council information on cycling in the city here

Is there anything else I need to know?

The Santos Tour Down Under is free to watch and it’s for everyone: first-timers, cycling die-hards, fitness gurus, festival-goers, kids and adults alike. The event team is here to help you have the best time in South Australia, and you can contact us with any question, big or small. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, call us on +61 8 8463 4701 or email us here. Our official event hashtag is #TourDownUnder.

Be sure to visit SouthAustralia.com when you’re planning your visit – it has all the latest on where to stay, where to eat and what to see while you’re here.

See you soon!


The Santos Tour Down Under is part of the UCI World Tour

UCI WorldTourUCI Women's WorldTour