Plouffe: Women’s race will keep building into 2019
15 May 18
By Matthew Agius
One of the youngest riders in the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under field believes the race will continue to build its own legendary story as the premier cycling festival in Australia progresses into its third decade.
While the famous men’s race marks its 21st edition in 2019, the women’s race will clock just its fourth edition as a UCI-classified event.
The 2018 edition of the women’s race was graded at 2.1 – one level below WorldTour status – and attracted its strongest field to date.
Plouffe – who is predominantly a track cyclist - rode for the Tasmanian Institute of Sport team and came away from her debut race excited about the future of the event.
Run for the first time as a ‘curtain-raiser’ to the men’s race (the women’s tour previously ran alongside the men’s race), spectators were given clean air to enjoy some of the world’s fastest female riders on the roadside.
The women’s race concluded with a final criterium ahead of the men’s People’s Choice Classic.
“One thing about the Tour Down Under, that it’s doing really well, is making sure the women’s tour is separate from the men’s and acknowledging the fact that we are a different race, we race differently and have different athletes in it,” Plouffe said at the announcement of record-breaking visitor numbers to South Australia for the event.
“It was great seeing spectators come out just to watch the women’s race, and support us in the sprints at the end.
“It was really, really exciting, the girls love it and it’s only going to bring more athletes in the future.”
Plouffe believes the race will continue to attract world-leading cyclists as it continues to build on the 2.1 classification it received for the 2018 race.
The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under dates were announced in May, with the festival to take place from 10-20 January. The first three days have been marked to stage the women’s race.
“For me, from an athlete’s perspective, I think the women’s tour was exactly what a women’s tour should be, and what we should strive to [continue],” Plouffe said.
“There were challenging conditions, an international field and of course equal prize-money. I think that will continue to drive more athletes and spectators to come and see the race.”
Stay up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to Santos Tour Down Under Race News here
More on tourdownunder.com.au