• Richie Porte powers up Willunga Hill during the 2020 Tour Down Under (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Tour Down Under race director Stuart O’Grady won’t let the forced cancellation of the 2021 race hold the event back declaring plans to ‘shake up’ the men’s and women’s WorldTour event when it returns in 2022.
SBS Cycling Central
23 Dec 2020 - 9:35 AM  UPDATED 23 Dec 2020 - 9:36 AM

In November, event organisers decided to cancel The 2021 Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race men’s and women’s events after the COVID-19 global pandemic made it difficult for teams to travel Australia for the January races.

The four-day Santos Festival of Cycling will take the place of the Tour Down Under this January with Richie Porte, racing in Australian team colours, set to take on a field of rising Aussie talent.

O’Grady, who took over as race director this year, had plans for a completely new race route for the Tour Down Under in 2021.

Although his ‘shake-up’ of the race has been put on ice for 12 months, the former Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix stage winner is committed to changing things up when it returns in 2022.

“We’re going to come back even better. I wanted to show off my new 2021 course design which has now been put on ice for a year,” O Grady said in an interview with Cyclingnews.

“I think that what’s happened has made everyone realize how much we miss the race, and how everyone would come down and focus on Adelaide with all the European guys riding around our beaches and hill.

“We’re very proud of that, and it was an honour to host everyone.”

O’Grady hinted at the route exploring previously unraced areas of the Adelaide Hills and a change to the Willunga Hill summit finish.

“There are a few changes that I’ve got in store. Back in the day, we used to finish down at the bottom of Willunga,” he said

“I think that what we’ll find in the next WorldTour edition is that there are a lot of hills in South Australia that we’ve not raced yet.

I guess I’m going to try and explore a few of these and give the race a bit of a shake up.”