After a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, the WorldTour returns to Australia in 2023. Today the route for the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under has been revealed and there are some interesting innovations created by the new race director, Stuart O’Grady.
– Details of the return of the men’s Santos Tour Down Under (17-22 January 2023)
In 2020, when the UCI WorldTour began with the Santos Tour Down Under, Stuart O’Grady shared the role of race director with Mick Turtur who had held this position since the inception of the race in 1999.
Now, with the start of the revitalised TDU 193 days away, details of O’Grady’s first race route have been unveiled in South Australia. The big news is, of course, that the event is returning to full WorldTour status after two editions of a ‘Festival of Cycling’ – rather than the full Tour Down Under (as was the case in 2021 and 2022).
That’s the start of what promises to be a major development in the race that has ensured a place in the UCI WorldTour until at least 2025. There are also a couple of significant innovations introduced by O’Grady for next year’s season-opening international stage race, including a short time trial on the opening day of the actual TDU. There will be a 5.5km prologue on the first Tuesday of the event.
Held on the Adelaide Riverbank the short TT will start on the Riverbank bridge and boast a route in the CBD. In the long history of the TDU there has never been a time trial stage as one of the concerns of organisers is the logistical challenge of requiring additional bikes for all riders for just one short stage.
At 5.5km, we might assume that teams will be encouraged to utilise standard road bikes rather than freight a collection of TT-specific bikes to Australia at the start of the season. We wait to see if that’s something O’Grady has recommended to teams or if the option will still exist to use specialty equipment for a very short race against the clock.
The other big change is that Old Willunga Hill will no longer host the finale on the Sunday of the race. This climb has become something of a TDU institution, but O’Grady has opted to bring the race closer to Adelaide for the final stage, a 114km contest that starts near the Adelaide city centre in Unley and finishes atop Mount Lofty.
There will be four laps of a 25km circuit in the Adelaide Hills that will challenge the riders and offer many great vantage points for spectators.
There is a media call at 3.00pm Adelaide time when O’Grady will explain more about the changes to what will be the 22nd edition of the Tour Down Under.
Race route: Santos Tour Down Under 2023
14 January Schwalbe Classic (Central Adelaide)
17 January Prologue, Adelaide Riverbank 5.5km
18 January Stage 1 – Tanunda to Tanunda 150km
19 January Stage 2 – Brighton to Victor Harbor 156km
20 January Stage 3 – Norwood to Campbelltown 118.5km
21 January Stage 4 – Port Willunga to Willunga 135.3km
22 January Stage 5 – Unley to Mount Lofty 114km
Stay tuned for more on the return of the Santos Tour Down Under in the coming days and weeks.