• Amanda Spratt celebrates another Santos Women's Tour Down Under overall victory. (Getty)Source: Getty
The women's Tour Down Under will have a hefty status bump for 2020, jumping into the newly created UCI ProSeries, the highest level of racing for the elite women.
SBS Cycling Central

Santos Tour Down Under
14 Oct 2019 - 12:56 PM 

In the ninth edition of the race, the women's Tour Down Under ascends for the first time to the top level of women's competition. The race has grown from a National Road Series race to a UCI-classified event, awarded equal prize money to the men's races and now takes on a new level of importance as it ascends to the ProSeries.

The Tour Down Under is currently one of only five UCI ProSeries stage races in the world and the only race at that level held outside of Europe.

2016 was the first time the event was placed on the UCI Calendar as a 2.2 status. Now operating as the Santos Women's Tour Down Under, the race was upgraded to UCI 2.1 status for the 2018 event. 

South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway said that the popularity of the Women’s race has grown exponentially since being introduced in 2016, and that the Santos Tour Down Under had a clear strategy to manage and elevate its status in the international cycling community.

“It is a clear indication of the excellent management and development of the women’s race and the standards to which the Women’s Santos Tour Down Under is delivered, to now be rewarded and recognised as part of the UCI ProSeries.”

Kimberley Conte, Santos Women’s Tour Down Under Race Director, is pleased that the investment in the delivery of the race has been recognized by the UCI with a status elevation, particularly in an Olympic year.

“The elevation to the new UCI ProSeries confirms our commitment to professional women’s cycling. We expect the race will continue to draw teams from around the world as the first race on the UCI calendar.”

The Santos Women’s Tour Down Under will be held from 16-19 January 2020.

The Union Cycliste International (UCI), the world body governing cycling, issued guidelines for what to expect from the new setup in 2020.

Whether the elevated status and prize money attracts the big overseas names remains to be seen, in past years the majority of the European riders have come over to race clearly underdone and in more of a preseason mode than fully race-ready.