21 Jan 2024

Stephen Williams of Israel Premier Tech stormed home in a frantic finish at Mount Lofty to claim the Schwalbe Stage 6 win and overall victory of the 2024 Santos Tour Down Under on Sunday.

Williams edged out Ineos Grenadiers’ Jhonatan Narvaez and Isaac Del Toro Romero of UAE Team Emirates who finished second and third respectively, in both Schwalbe Stage 6 and overall.

The trio were locked in a battle in the race to the finish with Del Toro Romero leading the way until the last few hundred metres.

In the final sprint, Williams burst past his rivals and crossed the line in the Ochre Jersey to secure top spot in the General Classification.

“I’m over the moon, really happy and really pleased to finish it off,” said the 27-year-old.

“I knew we’d give ourselves a good chance today on Lofty, it’s a perfect finish for me.

“To come in a small, select group like that I’d always back myself going to the line in a sprint so, to do it in this jersey as well makes it even more special.”

After starting in Unley, riders went early with the first King of the Mountain climb points available just 3.8kms from the start.

Jersey leader Luke Burns of ARA Australian Cycling Team amongst those leading the charge. Burns finished second behind Team Jayco AlUla’s Chris Harper, further cementing his lead in the climbing classification.

With around 100kms to race, a group of seven broke away including Stefan De Bod from EF Education Easy-Post and Simon Geschke of Cofidis, who were both under two minutes off the lead in the General Classification.

The breakaway continued to push ahead and lead the peloton by as much as three minutes after 40kms.

With De Bod among the bunch, he took the lead in the virtual standings. 

The peloton was consistently around three minutes behind the breakaway, but began reeling them in with under 50kms to go before the gap was slashed to under 90 seconds with 33kms remaining.

With 7.5kms to race, there was a crash towards the back of the peloton with a bunch of riders hitting the deck, with the frontrunners avoiding getting caught up in the tangle.

The breakaway was officially caught inside the final three kms to set up a thrilling finish which culminated in a scintillating final 300 metres.

Burns’ efex King of the Mountain #1 victory early in the day to ensure he sealed King of the Mountain classification.

“It’ feels awesome,” he said.

“I was there for the points on the first one so, locked it up at the first KOM.”

West Australian Sam Welsford of Bora-Hansgrohe was the winner of the Ziptrak® Sprint classification following three stage wins.

“It’s definitely more than I was expecting to come away with here at the Santos Tour Down Under but the boys have been super magical,” he said.

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale took out the general teams’ classification after the final stage.



Key points

3.8km: efex King of the Mountain 1 - Windy Point (Category 1)
Team Jayco AlUla’s Chris Harper took out the first efex King of the Mountain climb of Schwalbe Stage 6. King of the Mountain jersey leader Luke Burns (ARA Australian Cycling Team) also collected valuable points in second, while Alessandro Covi of UAE Team Emirates finished third.

56.1km: Ziptrak Sprint 1 - Strathalbyn Road at Mylor Oval, Mylor
Maurice Ballerstedt from Alpecin-Deceuninck claimed Schwalbe Stage 6’ Ziptrak® Sprint #1 ahead of Soudal Quick-Step’s Gil Gelders and EF Education Easy-Post’s Stefan De Bod who earned a valuable second bonus.

69.5km: efex King of the Mountain 2 - Mount Lofty (Category 1)
Soudal Quick-Step’s Gil Gelders crossed the line uncontested ahead of Jacopo Mosca of Lidl-Trek and EF Education Easy-Post’s Stefan De Bod in the first of three climbs of Mount Lofty.

79.9km: Ziptrak Sprint 2 - Greenhill Road at Uraidla Hotel, Uraidla
Jacopo Mosca of Lidl-Trek won Ziptrak® Sprint #2 with Franck Bonnamour (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team) and Antonio Morgado (UAE Team Emirates) crossing the line close behind.

98.2km: efex King of the Mountain 3 - Mount Lofty (Category 1)
Gil Gelders of Soudal Quick-Step took out the final efex King of the Mountain for Schwalbe Stage 6, edging out Antonio Morgado from UAE Team Emirates and Franck Bonnamour of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team. 

All the jerseys

Santos Tour Down Under Champion – Stephen Williams (Israel Premier Tech)
Schwalbe Men's Stage 6 Winner – Stephen Williams (Israel Premier Tech)
efex King of the Mountain – Luke Burns (ARA Australian Cycling Team)
Ziptrak Sprinter’s Jersey – Sam Welsford (Bora-hansgrohe)
Zwift Young Rider’s Jersey – Isaac del Toro Romero (UAE Team Emirates)
Most Competitive – Antonio Morgado Tomas (UAE Team Emirates)

See full race results here.


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

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