Cycling Australia has confirmed the addition of the UniSA-Australia women’s team to the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under with reigning time trial and road race National Champion Katrin Garfoot (QLD) headlining the team.
After becoming the second Australian in history to medal in two events at the World Championships in Norway, Garfoot has recently put her professional contract on hold for 2018, but not before targeting the upcoming tour and gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Now in its third year as a UCI event, the newly upgraded UCI 2.1 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under will feature four stages, including the first ever summit finish to Mengler’s Hill on Stage Two. With over 300km covered, the event will provide an important opportunity for leading Australian riders who are currently either not aligned with, or whose professional team is not contesting the summer of cycling in Australia.
Formerly known as the Santos Women’s Tour, the tour is the first women’s race on the UCI International Calendar for 2018 and features opportunities for climbers and sprinters alike.
Along with Garfoot, the Uni-SA Australia team will be made up of Lauren Kitchen (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) who finished fourth in last year’s tour and third in 2016, four-time National Time Trial Champion Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), 2012 World Championship silver medallist Rachel Neylan (Movistar Women), and South Australian Instagram Queen Tiffany Cromwell (CANYON/SRAM Racing Team), fresh from her stage win at the 2017 Giro Rosa stage.
The sixth and final position on the team will be announced after the Road Nationals in January along with the UNI-SA men’s Australian National Team.
According to Garfoot the tour will provide an important opportunity to test the legs prior to Commonwealth Games selections.
“I think it is great that all the girls get a chance to ride the UCI races this summer, especially these races count towards the Commonwealth Games selection,” Garfoot said. “I may know that I have ticked a lot of boxes for selections, but for me that still does not take the pressure off. I still have to perform on my best standard”.
Race organiser Kimberly Conte said she was excited to have the UniSA-Australia women’s team contesting the tour, stating:
“Not only does the inclusion of this team in our peloton give the riders the opportunity to compete in their home country but the opportunity to compete at an international race in their own backyard at the start of the season.”
The Santos Women’s Tour Down Under will commence on Thursday 11 January and concludes on Sunday 14 January at the People’s Choice Classic.
For more information head to the Tour Down Under website.
Image creadit: Casey Gibson