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The months preceding the grape harvest in South Australia are awash with male and female cyclists from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour weaving their way through the wine regions, making great use of an undulating landscape blanketed in orchards and vineyards, and fuelled by coffee… and wine.
Each January, world cycling turns its attention to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under (TDU), the first event on the UCI calendar for the year. The mens TDU was first staged in 1999, so the 2020 tour will be the 22nd consecutive event. In 2016, the womens race was granted UCI WorldTour status and this race runs over four stages in the days preceding the mens race.
The mens race is six-stage event takes a different path every year, but never fails to highlight the natural beauty of our wine regions to a global audience. Many cyclists spend a few weeks prior to the event acclimatising to conditions, exploring South Australia’s impeccable food and wine regions.
Over the years, the tour has visited Clare Valley, the Barossa and Eden Valley, including the famous climb on Menglers Hill, all corners of the Adelaide Hills and the Fleurieu Peninsula. Perhaps the most famous stage of all is in McLaren Vale, now the penultimate stage of the race. The cyclists complete five laps around the famous wine region, taking in the rolling hills and skirting along the sandstone cliffs from Sellicks Beach to Port Willunga, finishing on the breathtaking climb up Old Willunga Hill. It supplies spectacular vision, amazing vantage points and a key strategic cycling battle, right in the heart of wine country.
In 2019, it was estimated that the tour attracted more than 45,000 interstate and international visitors to Adelaide to watch the race and enjoy our wine regions, while more than 800,000 watched from vantage points along the six stages.
For more information about the Santos Tour Down Under, please visit https://tourdownunder.com.au