15 Jan 2023

Poland’s Daria Pikulik became the first historic stage winner of the Santos Tour Down Under’s debut UCI WorldTour race on Sunday.

Pikulik claimed the Ziptrak stage at the Snapper Point, Aldinga finish line beating a superb conga line of talent including FDJ-SUEZ’s Clara Coponi and Jayco AlUla’s Georgie Baker who finished second and third respectively.

Pikulik – who is a renowned track rider for Poland says she is is about to feature in the Madison alongside her sister Wiktoria on the boards at the track World Cup next month - was emotional after the win.

“I can’t believe it, this is also my very first WorldTour race for my new team (Human Powered Health),’’ Pikulik said.

“I can’t believe it.

"My team worked so hard for this and it's just a fantastic honour."    

Pikulik will wear the Santos leader’s jersey after she also claimed the Ziptrak sprint jersey following her fine win.   

Pikulik timed her run perfectly towards the finish line after team favourites Jayco UlUla, FDJ-SUEZ and Trek-Segafredo traded places in a ploy to set up perfect lead-out trains before the the 26-year-old Pole smashed their tactics to pieces.  

After a pedestrian start to the race, FDJ SUEZ’s Grace Brown earned valuable Ziptrak sprint points and a time bonus.

She was ushered first across the first sprint on Main Road, Willunga as riders continued to jostle for key positions 53.8km from home.

The reigning Australian national time trial champion’s French team was then helping Brown conserve energy as the wind wreaked havoc on the peloton after a conservative start.    

The peloton was greeted by a huge crowd at the Glenelg seaside resort start line, race director Stuart O’Grady dropping the flag on Jetty Road signified the global women’s WorldTour was officially open for the 2023 season.

Blustery conditions marred the race but Team Jayco AlUla attacked as predicted by pundits via Howe who was at the front of the peloton before the first major climb of the day.

Gladys Verhulst from FDJ SUEZ claimed the honour.

She will wear the queen of the mountain jersey on stage 2 Birdwood to Uraidla on Monday after sprinting across the line in pole position at the 34.4km mark of the historic race seconds before a crash.    

Team Bridgelane’s Keely Bennett crashed heavily with what appeared to be a touch of wheels descending the efex queen of the mountain Chaffey’s Climb.

Bennett who was in solid form at the Bay Crits earlier this month was touted as a dark horse to win the stage before FDJ SUEZ took control of the race for gun Australian rider Grace Brown with 57km to go.

The peloton took a good look at the Snapper Point finish line when they crossed the beachside road’s finish line for the first time with two more loops of a circuit to go before the Santos Tour Down Under would have a historic first WorldTour stage winner.


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

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