The anticipation is already building to a new year of Women’s WorldTour racing with the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under announcing a deeper field of top tier teams as well as a group of headline riders for 2024 that includes a trio of former winners.
The riders that will be on the start line of the January 12 to 14 race include defending champion Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez) and 2020 winner Ruth Edwards (nee Winder), with the rider from the United States ending her two season retirement as she returns to the professional peloton at the Australian race with Human Powered Health. Then there is also 2017 to 2019 winner Amanda Spratt (Lidl-Trek) who completes the group of former winners that provide ample fuel for a gripping final showdown on Willunga Hill.
“It’s always exciting to start a new season at the Santos Tour Down Under and in 2024, there’s a little more to look forward to with the addition of Willunga Hill to the women’s WorldTour race for the first time,” Spratt said. “I can’t deny that I have my eyes set on a good performance there, it’s a big goal of mine.
“Overall, I have great memories of this race having won it three times and I am eager to try to replicate that success this time. I was close last year, agonisingly close you could say, so I am really motivated to come back to race for the victory all over again,” said Spratt, who finished in second place overall in 2023, just ten seconds behind Brown.
Australian champion Brodie Chapman, Spratt’s teammate, will also be on the start list alongside South Australian local Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) along with Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Lily Williams and Megan Jastrab of Human Powered Health.
The race – which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022 and then returned to the calendar with Women’s WorldTour status in 2023 – also looks set to deliver a deeper field in 2024.
There were six of the 15 Women’s WorldTeams at the race in 2023, with attendance not mandated for the women’s top tier squads. However, this time eight top tier teams have already been confirmed including Women’s Tour Down Under newcomers Canyon-SRAM, Jumbo-Visma, dsm-firmenich and UAE Team ADQ. They will face up against a returning FDJ-Suez and Lidl-Trek, as well as Human Powered Health and, of course, Australian team Liv-AlUla-Jayco.
“We are thrilled to announce that so many UCI Women’s WorldTour teams have so far made the commitment to travel to Adelaide in January and compete at the…