The race will take place between 17-22 January.
For the first time since 2020, the Tour Down Under will open the World Tour calendar, a 5.5km prologue kicking off proceedings at the 23rd edition, which promises to give the sprinters at most two opportunities to fight for victory. Surprisingly, one of these will come on the Willunga stage, meaning that this year the now iconic climb of the race won’t make an appearance, with the spotlight now being on the ascent of Mount Lofty, a climb never before used at the Tour Down Under.
Featuring on the final day of the race, one taking in an elevation gain of more than 3000 meters, Mount Lofty will come at the end of a stage punctuated by numerous short but demanding hills, and will average 7.3% over 1300 meters, with the steepest part coming beyond the flamme rouge.
Mattia Cattaneo, Dries Devenyns, James Knox, Mauro Schmid, Jannik Steimle, Martin Svrcek and Stan Van Tricht will be the seven riders lining up for Soudal Quick-Step in Adelaide, where our 21st season will officially commence next week.
“It won’t be an easy Tour Down Under, that’s for sure. It’s an unusual edition, with a short opening stage against the clock – where we hope to place some of our guys in the top 10 – and not that many chances for the sprinters. On some of the days, we can expect smaller groups to fight for victory – and our objective is to be there and try something – before the main showdown on the hard Mount Lofty”, explained sports director Geert Van Bondt. “We have a strong and motivated squad, with the experienced Dries as our road captain, and guys like Mattia, Jannik or Mauro who can be in the mix and get some good results during the week.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel