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Women’s racing gets a boost at Tour Down Under

Best Young Rider Alexis Rhodes of Webcor before the stage start

Best Young Rider Alexis Rhodes of Webcor before the stage start

Women’s racing during Australia’s Tour Down Under has received a boost with Cycling South Australia announcing the addition of a second race and a two title sponsors. The two events, to be held in the city’s East End and Victoria Park, will form the Rendition Homes-Santos Women’s Cup.

The first race will be held on Sunday, January 16, the same day as the pre-ProTour event criterium, while the second will be held on the ‘rest day’ before the men’s general classification race starts on the Tuesday. Cycling SA Executive Max Stevens has already confirmed some of Australia’s well-known female athletes to contest the Women’s Cup.

“We are hoping to get the biggest names in women’s cycling to South Australia for the women’s cup and at this time we can confirm Amber Halliday, Rachel Neylan and Alexis Rhodes”, said Stevens. “This is going to be a class event and a classic field will be assembled. Interest from interstate teams and competition is high.”

The expanded women’s event is one of four Cycling SA will hold during the Tour Down Under. Other events include the final round of the Rendition Homes Teams Series, an annual series held throughout Adelaide each summer; the Unley Council Challenge, a criterium open to all Cycling Australia members; and an eight stage cyclo-sportif.

Santos Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur praised the Cycling SA events for adding another element to the week of cycling in Adelaide.

“Not many professional sporting events give people the opportunity to participate like the Santos Tour Down Under does”, said Turtur. “The Cycling SA races are another great way that people can enhance their experience of the tour, coming from behind the sidelines to ride the roads of Adelaide.”

Tour Down Under itself used to host a three-event women’s criterium series sponsored by UniSA. Since the closure of that series Cycling SA has done its best to include women’s racing in Adelaide’s week of cycling with a sole criterium until 2010.

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