Catch up on the Women’s Santos Tour Down Under

We asked a local pro-cyclist for advice on who to watch and where to watch the Santos Tour Down Under Women’s race.

Having been elevated to a Union Cycliste International (UCI) Women’s WorldTour event, the 13 teams and 78 riders that have so far braved the heat, wind and hills are racing for a place in the history books tomorrow when the tour finishes.

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.

And local Alex Manly pulled off the win for Jayco-AlUla on day two today at the Singapore Airlines stage through the Adelaide Hills and finishing at Uraidla around 2:45pm. She out sprinted Kiwi Geogia Williams and Nina Buijsman of Human Powered Health for the win and to place herself at the top of the General Classification with 34 points.

Although not racing this year because her new DSM team decided not to make the long trip Down Under, neo-pro Maeve Plouffe has plenty of experience riding the challenging routes, rode her first TDU at the age of 18 in 2018 and won a stage at last year’s festival.

Plouffe shares what she thinks will happen on the last stage of the tour.

Women’s Let’s Go Motorhomes Stage 3 – Adelaide to Campbelltown

Stage 3 will be one for the pure climbers.

The 93.2km route showcases the Adelaide Hills again, going beyond the city’s northeastern suburbs to take in a region that is known for its rugged beauty and native landscapes.

However, it will be the time gaps the climbers manage to put into their fellow general classification riders up the gruelling Corkscrew Road which will be the subject of the most excitement.

Corkscrew is regarded by the Adelaide cycling community as one of Adelaide’s toughest climbs, maxing out at a whopping 24.4 per cent which will act as a perfect launchpad for pure climbers such as Trek Segafredo’s Amanda Spratt (#11) to dish out a dose of pain – as she has done three times in the past to win the TDU.

But it might not all go Spratt’s way.

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While not categorised as an official climb, the gradual ascent to Gumeracha could provide the perfect opportunity for riders with nothing to lose to ride clear of a tired peloton and gain a head start before the main climb.

Look out for time-triallists or all-round riders with good climbing legs such as local Amber Pate (#6), German Lisa Klein (#15) or New Zealander Ally Wollaston (#121) who may be able to work in a small group off the front for a final chance at stage victory.

If you’re an avid cycling photographer, don’t forget to bring your camera for the beautiful backdrop of the staggering cliffs along Gorge Road, which the riders will come past twice at around 12:30 and 2pm.

There are plenty of places to grab snacks and drinks along the route to sustain you as you await the real action on Corkscrew Road around 2:30pm.

All the riders will need to have their wits about them as they crest the climb into a fast and furious descent towards Montacute, where tired legs are still likely to see speeds exceed 70kmph.

Will the climbers maintain their lead over the climb and sprint it out amongst themselves for the win and potentially even the overall General Classification (GC) title?

Or will an all-round rider risk it all on the descent and power to glory?

Whatever the outcome, it seems inevitable that we will witness an exhilarating final few kilometres.

There is plenty of time after the finish at about 2:45pm to stay and explore the area – Donut World Adelaide, anyone? – before heading back into the City of Adelaide Tour Village for the winners’ presentation and the night’s entertainment.

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