Back-to-back Australian Champion Luke Plapp will make his official debut with Team Jayco AlUla, as the Aussie cycling team announced its line-up at next month’s Santos Tour Down Under.
At just 22-years of age, Plapp recently signed with Team Jayco AlUla through to 2027, following a breakout year that included a second-place overall finish at the UAE Tour.
Plapp has been named alongside 2023 Santos Tour Down Under Runner-up, Simon Yates. The Briton, placed fourth at the Tour de France in July, is a former Vuelta a España champion and has 10 individual Grand Tour stage wins to his name.
Nine-time stage winner at the Santos Tour Down Under and 11-time Grand Tour stage winner Caleb Ewan will make his return to the Aussie cycling team and line-up alongside local Adelaide climber Chris Harper, who was the second-best placed Australian at the most recent Tour de France.
Rounding out the lineup are Olympic track medallists, Kelland O’Brien, Michael Hepburnal ong with Kiwi, Campbell Stewart.
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Stuart O’Grady OAM remarked on the depth of the Team Jayco AlUla line-up.
“Team Jayco AlUla always come to the Santos Tour Down Under with high expectations and this line-up shows it is a key contender for another big overall result at its ‘home’ race,” said O’Grady.
“The likes of Plapp, Ewan and Yates will be ones to watch in what is always a fierce battle amongst the other 19 teams at the Santos Tour Down Under for stage wins and the Ochre Jersey”.
Luke Plapp said racing in front of home crowds is something that the team doesn’t often get to do during the season.
“As an Australian the Santos Tour Down Under is such an important and special race,” he said. “Racing for Team Jayco AlUla the race is even more important as it is an Australian team, I am so motivated and excited for the race, we really want to win and start the season off on a high,” said Plapp.
“I want to perform at my best, it will be my first UCI WorldTour race with Team Jayco AlUla, so I want to work well with my teammates. We have an incredibly strong team with Simon Yates, so we are aiming for stage wins with Caleb Ewan, and a strong overall result”.
Sports Director, Mat Hayman said the team is very motivated to return to the Santos Tour Down Under.
“It is one of the most important races on the calendar for us as a team and for 2024, we are lining up with a very strong group and the riders we have can really tackle each stage,” said Mat.
“Having Plapp and Ewan join us will be a huge boost and with Yates returning after he enjoyed a stage win and second place finish overall in this year’s edition, we are coming in with high ambitions to win. It’s a dynamic course and we want to put on a great show for the Australian fans who only get to see us race once a year in January. Hopefully 2024 will be a memorable one.”
The Santos Tour Down Under will take place in Adelaide and regional South Australia in one-month, featuring nine days of elite racing for men and women from 12-21 January 2024.