Since beginning in 1999 as a grassroots event in South Australia, the Tour Down Under has grown to become a yearly centrepiece of high-skill cycling, street parties and atmosphere across nine days.
Now in its 19th year, the Tour Down Under will see some of the world’s best cyclists compete in the South Australian capital Adelaide.
Six Stage Event
The Tour Down Under will be held over nine days in six stages across Adelaide and its surrounds, with several races taking place in the hills east and south of the city.
The cycling event will begin with the People’s Choice Classic, to be held in parklands near the centre of the city on the evening of January 15.
This first event will give spectators a chance to see the cyclists in action as they test their skills against each other.
The first official stage of the event will take place on January 17 as cyclists race from the centre city towards the famed Barossa wine region.
The most iconic stage of the event, a climb towards the summit of Willunga Hill, will this year be held on January 21.
Considered the most difficult stage of the event, cyclists will begin in McLaren Vale, an area famous for winemaking, before heading for the summit in what is often the deciding stage.
The final stage will then take place on January 22 as cyclists race through the streets of Adelaide.
World Class Racing
In 2008, the Tour Down Under was the first race outside of Europe to become part of the prestigious Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour.
Being part of the WorldTour ensures that the most prestigious cycling teams attend each year.
The Tour Down Under has seen some of the world’s best cyclists compete at various stages in their career.
Australian Tour de France Champion Cadel Evans placed in the inaugural Tour Down Under early in his career, and in 2015 he took part once again for the penultimate race before his retirement.
The 2017 Tour Down Under will be similarly star-packed, with cyclists including UCI road champion Peter Sagan and Columbian Estebean Chaves confirmed for the race.
Recognition for Female Riders
The 2016 Women’s Tour was granted international status by the UCI, similarly ensuring a swathe of world-class cyclists.
Now in its third year, the women’s event will take place over four separate stages.
The 2017 Women’s Tour will begin on January 14, with the final stage finishing on January 17, the same day the first stage of the men’s event begins.
In a move aimed at highlighting the diverse talents of women, the 2017 Tour Down Under will be the first year without ‘podium girls.’
Instead, a number of junior cyclists will present winners with their jerseys and prizes each day.
Street Parties and Free Concerts
The Tour Down Under is marked by a range of festivities that kick off as the event begins.
ARIA Award Winners Birds of Tokyo will headline at a free concert in the Adelaide’s CBD on the evening of January 14 after the teams and competitors are introduced.
Then following the People’s Choice event, DJ Havana Brown will kick off celebrations with a set on January 15.
Throughout the nine days of racing, street parties will also take place across Adelaide, and rural towns will compete for the “best dressed” award.
The popular Tourrific Prospect event will return for its sixth year on January 17, taking over Prospect Rd with a vibrant display of festivities from 6pm.
Four Jerseys to be Won
Designs have been released for three of the four jerseys up for grabs in this year’s Tour Down Under.
Each jersey is awarded at the end of each stage, and then again to the overall winner of each category at the end of the event.
The orange Ochre Leader’s jersey is awarded for the fastest cumulative time and overall winner of the race.
The other two confirmed jersey designs are red for best sprinter and white for King of the Mountain, or best climber.
The final jersey, typically green and gold, is awarded to the best young cyclist of the race.
Prizes will also be awarded to the best team at the event and the most competitive rider.
Community Challenge Tour
The Tour Down Under is also marked by a community challenge event, which this year will take place on January 20.
The annual event gives everyone a chance to ride along the same route as the professional cyclists, who will take part in their official stage just hours after the community challenge finishes.Jump to next article