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Santos Festival of Cycling 2022

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The Santos Festival of Cycling, which includes four days of racing across South Australia for the women and men, is the National Road Series replacement for the cancelled Tour Down Under, which was last held as a WorldTour event for men. The 22nd edition was won by Richie Porte.

The multi-day event provides an opportunity for the top domestic racers to line up alongside some of the nation’s WorldTour professionals who returned home for the Australian summer. The domestic event will feature three-day stage races for elite women and elite men, as well as men’s and women’s criteriums in Victoria Park. 

Top NRS teams will line up alongside Australia’s only WorldTeam BikeExchange-Jayco and Team Garmin-Australia, a national squad where Grace Brown, Richie Porte and Luke Plapp will mentor a group of U19 riders and first year U23 riders. 

Last year’s race helped launch Plapp into the WorldTour with Ineos Grenadiers and shone further light on the potential of Sarah Gigante, who this year signed with Movistar.

The 2022 event starts on Sunday, January 23 with the women racing three road stages. The first starting in Tanunda is one for the sprinters, then it is a winery start to the climbs and gravel roads of stage two before taking on the unpaved sections and challenging final climb of stage 3 before the finish line in Lobethal. The women’s race ends with a criterium in the centre of Adelaide, with the men’s event opening on the same night.

After the opening criterium, the men’s road stages start in Stirling and while it’s fairly flat there is a small steep climb not far from the finish to provide the opportunity for attackers. Stage 2 in the Adelaide Hills starts at Mount Lofty and the third heads for the traditionally decisive climb of the race Willunga Hill.

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Santos Festival of Cycling history

The was launched as the Tour Down Under in 1999 with stages in and around Adelaide, South Australia. Local rider Stuart O’Grady took the first victory and won again two years later. 

By 2008 the Tour Down Under had joined the UCI WorldTour and became the first men's stage race outside Europe to receive the top ranking. A series of women's  criterium events were added in 2012, then the women's stage race was established as part of the National Road Series in 2015, gaining UCI status the following year.

The 2021 and 2022 editions of the race were cancelled due to safety measures related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and modified as an all-Australian event known as the Santos Festival of Cycling, offering four days of racing on the National Road Series. 

At last year's Santos Festival of Cycling, Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) won the overall title in the men’s event while Richie Porte triumphed atop Willunga Hill. Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) claimed overall victory in the women’s race.

2022 Santos Festival of Cycling schedule

Women's Schedule

Stage 1, January 23 - Tanunda to Williamstown, 85.4km

Stage 2, January 24 - McLaren Vale to Echunga, 85.7km

Stage 3, January 25 -  Lobethal to Lobethal, 86.9km

Criterium, January 26 - Victoria Square, Tarntanyangga, Adelaide, 45mins + 1 lap

Men's Schedule

Criterium, January 26 - Victoria Square, Tarntanyangga, Adelaide, 45mins + 1 lap

Stage 1, January 27 - Stirling to Lobethal, 114.2km

Stage 2, January 28 - Mount Lofty to Woodside, 112.9km

Stage 3, January 29 - McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 113.2km

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