05 Jul 2017

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

The Santos Tour Down Under is an action-packed, nine-day festival that combines world-class cycling with gala dinners, street parties, free concerts, family events, festival atmosphere, community spirit and fun for visitors and locals alike. The Santos Tour Down Under encompasses two races, the Santos Tour Down Under men’s race and the Santos Women’s Tour, and the calendar of festival events known as the Santos Festival of Cycling. The event began in 1999, and in 2018 will be celebrating its 20th edition from 13-21 January.

Okay, so what are the races?

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 People’s Choice 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 stages here.

The Santos Women’s Tour, is a UCI 2.2 ranked, four stage race. International teams and riders compete alongside some of Australia’s up-and-coming local talent on two wheels in two criterium stages in the heart of Adelaide and two regional road race stages. The Santos Women’s Tour race stages will be released later in 2017 – stay tuned!

Check out our handy Glossary here 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 Subaru 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 Subaru Tour Parade passes through you’ll know it’s only 30 minutes before the riders whizz past.

The People’s Choice Classic and Be Safe Be Seen MAC Stage 6 are 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, you can glam up for the Legends’ Night Dinner and dine with the stars, watch mechanics at work in the City of Adelaide Tour Village in Victoria Square, take a seat at The Collins Bar in the Hilton Adelaide and people-watch or ride out to the regions with your mates for a long lunch at a boutique winery.

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 sprint or King 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 the Subaru Breakaway Series; participation rides including the Bupa Challenge Tour, the Shut Up Down Under ride with Jens Voigt, the Bupa mini tour for kids and the Bupa 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. Best of all, you don’t even have to bring your own bike! There are more than 500 bikes available for hire in the Adelaide City Bikes fleet, and you can hire one for free from 14 city locations. Visit Bike SA for more.

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 #TDU.

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