The most challenging final weekend of racing in Santos Tour Down Under history will feature both Willunga Hill and Mt Lofty when the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour race returns from Friday 12 to Sunday 21 January next year.
Stages for the 2024 men’s and women’s races were launched today, with exciting new start and finish locations, picturesque routes and fan favourite elements on offer – including the introduction of the first men’s stage start in Murray Bridge to further showcase the region as it recovers from the recent flood event.
Cycling fans can enjoy a combined 1,116 kilometres of action across 10 days. The women’s race will be in the spotlight on weekend one, kick-starting the racing on Friday 12 January with a fast-paced stage from Hahndorf to Campbelltown.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the Santos Tour Down Under would again open the international cycling calendar and deliver a significant economic benefit to the state.
“We are delighted to welcome fans once again to celebrate not only cycling, but also South Australia’s vibrant offerings such as food, wine and our beautiful regions and show our support to the Murray River community that has been impacted by the floods,” Minister Bettison said.
“The 2023 Santos Tour Down Under saw 216 elite athletes from 27 nationalities competing at the highest level and showcased South Australia to millions around the world. This event provides a great boost to South Australia’s visitor economy, creating the equivalent of 776 full-time jobs for our state in 2023.
“South Australian events have been bigger and better than ever this year. We look forward to continuing the momentum into 2024 with the Santos Tour Down Under.”
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Stuart O’Grady OAM said he and Assistant Race Directors Annette Edmondson and Carlee Taylor were excited to build on the success of this year’s event.
“The 2024 race routes will test the elite international cyclists like never before. The Santos Tour Down Under is Australia’s unbeatable cycling race and we are proud to present another edition,” Mr O’Grady said.
The new race format will see women’s racing held on the first weekend to enable more fans than ever to get out and see elite cyclists in action.
“We made history in 2023 with the first women’s stage race in the southern hemisphere at UCI Women’s WorldTour level. Next year we will see the women racing across the first weekend. We have elevated these stages and hope to give fans even more opportunity to get out and enjoy the highest level of competition,” Mr O’Grady said.
“The women will also tackle Willunga Hill for the first time, and we hope to see its slopes lined with cheering fans.
“The men will need to give absolutely everything out there on the road in what will be the toughest final weekend in Santos Tour Down Under history. Competition is going to be furious as riders battle it out to secure their place.”
Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said the company was proud to continue supporting the event and recognised its broad community benefits.
“Having a world-class event of this scale attracts a significant number of international and Australian tourists to South Australia,’’ Mr Gallagher said.
“Santos is headquartered in South Australia and is proud to have played a role in building the event up to what it is today.’’
2024 Santos Tour Down Under women’s stages:
Friday 12 January
Ziptrak Stage 1 – Hahndorf to Campbelltown, 93.9km
A picturesque start in the main street of Hahndorf will see the women off for their 2024 Santos Tour Down Under. The rolling roads of this stage will prime the peloton for an exciting bunch sprint to the line.
Saturday 13 January
Stage 2 – Glenelg to Stirling, 104km
After record crowds at last year’s Glenelg start, the Santos Tour Down Under returns to Glenelg beach. The women will travel to Cherry Gardens and through Adelaide’s southern hills before tackling two-and-a-half laps of Stirling in their longest race stage to date.
Sunday 14 January
Stage 3 – Adelaide CBD to Willunga Hill, 93km
Riders will cover a range of Adelaide highlights in this stage for the climbers, starting in the city centre before moving to the hills and then along the coast. The finish line awaits atop the famous Willunga Hill – a first for the UCI women’s WorldTour race. Who will take the coveted crown of the inaugural Queen of Willunga Hill?
2024 Santos Tour Down Under men’s stages:
Saturday 13 January
Down Under Classic – Adelaide CBD
Fans will have their first chance to watch the men up close across this fast-paced city circuit. Riders will race along Flinders, Wakefield and Pulteney streets and beside the Tour Village in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, with new start and finish locations.
Tuesday 16 January
Ziptrak Stage 1 – Tanunda to Tanunda, 144km
Returning to the beautiful Barossa for another blistering sprint stage, riders will tackle three laps of the region, travelling through Seppeltsfield, Greenock, Nuriootpa, Angaston and Tanunda.
Wednesday 17 January
efex Stage 2 – Norwood to Lobethal, 141km
The Adelaide Hills will be on show in this exciting stage. It will finish with three 35-kilometre loops and three ascents of the Fox Creek Climb – a short but super-steep climb set to be a launchpad for multiple attacks.
Thursday 18 January
Stage 3 – Tea Tree Gully to Campbelltown, 145km
A new start in Tea Tree Gully will initiate an aggressive stage set to skirt the edge of the Barossa before a speedy finish down Gorge Road and into Campbelltown.
Friday 19 January
Hahn Stage 4 – Murray Bridge to Port Elliot, 136km
Showcasing some of South Australia’s most beautiful regions, this stage will travel from the Murray River, past Lake Alexandrina and into the Langhorne Creek wine region before a first-time finish at Port Elliot’s stunning Horseshoe Bay.
Saturday 20 January
THINK! Road Safety Stage 5 – Christies Beach to Willunga Hill, 129km
Fan favourite Willunga Hill is making a triumphant return, not once but twice in this stage. After a new start location at Christies Beach, riders will make their way around McLaren Vale before two laps of the district. King of the Mountain points on Willunga Hill are on offer in the first, while the second promises an iconic finish atop Willunga Hill. Who will take the crown from Richie Porte?
Sunday 21 January
Stage 6 – Unley to Mount Lofty, 128km
Mt Lofty returns for the final showdown in what will be the toughest final weekend in Santos Tour Down Under history. It will be time for riders to go all in, and the last chance for general classification contenders to make their move.