Coastal sprints and iconic climbs will be among challenges when the Santos Tour Down Under women’s race makes its debut at the highest level of international competition this summer.
The event will be the first ever UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Women’s WorldTour stage race in the southern hemisphere after being elevated to the top category of racing for 2023.
Its latest three stages reflect this new status, with popular South Australian destinations, aggressive sprints and climbs including the notorious Corkscrew all set to feature.
The race, planned by Race Director Stuart O’Grady OAM and Assistant Race Directors Annette Edmondson and Carlee Taylor, will be the first international cycling event of the year and gives elite teams the opportunity to set up their season with a strong performance.
In addition to three stages from 14-17 January, women’s teams will also compete in the Schwalbe Classic, a dynamic criterium through central Adelaide sure to be close fought ahead of the Santos Tour Down Under and the coveted UCI Women’s WorldTour points it offers.
Demand for women’s cycling has exploded in recent years, with the recent Tour de France Femmes attracting huge crowds and more than 20 million viewers across the world.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said growing interest was good news for South Australia.
“The Santos Tour Down Under will show South Australia shining bright in summer and share the best our state has to offer, from spectacular coastlines to renowned wine regions and the tranquillity of the Adelaide Hills,” Ms Bettison said.
“We are so excited to welcome cycling fans back to South Australia, and for our state to continue setting the pace as host of major events.”
Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Katrine Hildyard said that having elite female cyclists compete in world class competition on new routes is brilliant for riders and fans.
“These three stages will challenge international teams and hopefully entice the best women’s riders to start their season here in South Australia,” Ms Hildyard said.
“Seeing these women competing across our beautiful state will inspire the next generation of cyclists.
“Each stage provides opportunities for local fans to enjoy the action and see their heroines racing in a world-class event on home soil.”
Assistant Race Director Annette Edmondson said she looked forward to seeing international cycling back in her home state.
“It will be a big moment to have the first ever UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race here in South Australia and to see the very best female cyclists competing across our state once again,” Edmondson said.
“We have worked to create a race that will excite and challenge the peloton but also deliver an entertaining experience for spectators, and I can’t wait to see how the riders tackle each stage.”
All stages of the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under will be broadcast nationally via the Seven network.
The 2023 Santos Tour Down Under Women’s stages are:
Saturday 14 January
Schwalbe Classic – Central Adelaide
Fans are invited to welcome elite riders to South Australia at this city curtain-raiser, to be raced along Flinders, Wakefield and Pulteney streets and beside the Tour Village in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga.
Sunday 15 January
Ziptrak® Stage 1 – Glenelg to Aldinga, 110.4km
A stage for the sprinters, the peloton will roll out of Glenelg and travel south to the world-renowned McLaren Vale wine region. Riders will have two opportunities to collect Ziptrak® sprint points in Willunga, before a fast, flat finish on the coast at Snapper Point.
Monday 16 January
Stage 2 – Birdwood to Uraidla, 90km
Riders will be looking to conquer the spectacular Adelaide Hills, tackling a challenging EFEX Queen of the Mountain climb at the picturesque Chain of Ponds on their way to an exciting finish in the heart of Uraidla.
Tuesday 17 January
Stage 3 – Adelaide to Campbelltown, 93.2km
This scenic final stage is set to challenge teams, with riders taking on the iconic Corkscrew in a Santos Tour Down Under women’s race first.
Fans can then return to the city, where the men’s prologue around the Adelaide Riverbank will begin that evening to cap off a full day of exhilarating elite racing.
The Santos Tour Down Under is taking place in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 13-22 January 2023. It will feature nine days of elite racing for men and women.