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Race routes announced for 25th Santos Tour Down Under

PIC – Santos Tour Down under rides through the Adelaide Hills. Credit – South Australian Tourism Commission.
Abbie Tiller

Tour Down Under injects $87 million into the economy
as 25-year celebrations revealed

The race routes for the 25th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under will celebrate the world-class history of Australia’s greatest cycling race, which injected more than $87 million into South Australia’s visitor economy in 2024.

Paying homage to the event’s rich history, Adelaide’s CBD will provide the backdrop for the final day of men’s racing, which returns to the lineup after a seven-year hiatus. Willunga Hill will feature once again with the women’s peloton to tackle two climbs up the iconic hill for the first time and in another first, the men will descend its steep slopes.

All stages for the 2025 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour men’s and women’s races were launched in Adelaide today, featuring new start and finish locations, picturesque routes and nostalgic nods to 25 years of South Australia’s beloved cycling race.

Cycling fans can enjoy a combined 1,198 kilometres of action across 10 days, with the women’s race headlining the opening weekend, kick-starting on Friday 17 January with a fast-paced sprinters stage from Brighton to Aldinga.

Adelaide’s East End holds a special place in Santos Tour Down Under history and will also make a return to the 25th edition routes. A men’s circuit race through East End streets featured when the race made its debut in 1999. Hopes were high that up to 15,000 people would enjoy the action live, with expectations smashed when more than 40,000 came out to welcome world cycling to South Australia.

The race routes are revealed as independent analysis shows the 2024 Santos Tour Down Under generated $87.2 million in economic impact for South Australia and attracted an estimated total attendance of 770,600, while creating 490 full-time equivalent jobs.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the Santos Tour Down Under had been a staple on South Australia’s calendar since it began 25 years ago.

“This event means so much to South Australians. It showcases our state’s regions, brings communities together, and boosts our local economy. It’s an incredible opportunity to put South Australia on the global stage and attract visitors from all over the world,” she said.

The announcement of the raced routes came from Stuart O’Grady OAM and fellow Race Directors, Annette Edmondson and Carl Taylor.

O’Grady said the 2025 course nods to the incredible history the event holds, but with new elements that will test elite international cyclists.

“We saw incredible vulnerability and emotion in so many of the athletes this year, in particular Sarah Gigante as she won up Willunga Hill – a climb that we will see women tackle twice for the first time in 2025,” he said.

“Some of the exciting new elements in the men’s race will see them ride down the face of Willunga for the first time followed by two ascensions, and a brand-new climb up Knotts Hill, Pound Road. Smart team tactics will be crucial for success in this edition of the Santos Tour Down Under.”

Fans line the streets to see the Santos Tour Down Under roar through the Adelaide Hills. PIC South Australia Tourism Commission.

2025 Santos Tour Down Under women’s stages

Friday 17 January
Ziptrak Stage 1 – Brighton to Aldinga, 101.9km
Beachside Brighton will host its first women’s start before the peloton heads to the Fleurieu Peninsula. Expect coastal vistas, a warm welcome from local communities and a sprint finish at Aldinga’s Snapper Point – already the scene of so much Santos Tour Down Under action.

Saturday 18 January
Stage 2 – Unley to Willunga, 115km
Climbing comes early in this second women’s stage. Riders will roll out from Unley – a first for our women’s race – and head straight to Windy Point at Belair. From there the ascents continue, with two punishing passes of Willunga Hill set to challenge the peloton like never before.

Sunday 19 January
Stage 3 – Stirling to Stirling, 105.9km
It all comes down to the Adelaide Hills in our closing women’s stage. Fans can settle in at any point across an undulating circuit designed to keep even the most tenacious riders on their toes. A change in overall leader is possible; world-class racing is certain.

2025 Santos Tour Down Under men’s stages:

Saturday 13 January
Down Under Classic – Adelaide East End – 55kms
Ready to party like it’s 1999? Us too! We’re flashing back to the first Santos Down Under and taking our curtain-raising criterium back to the East End of Adelaide. Gather your family and friends, settle in and cheer on the world’s best around a circuit of almost two kilometres.

Tuesday 21 January
Ziptrak Stage 1 – Prospect to Gumeracha, 150.7km
A stage for the sprinters is up first. From Prospect riders will head north to Williamstown, tackling Gorge Road at Paracombe as their opening climb of the day before turning back towards the Adelaide Hills. It’s the first men’s stage finish in Santos Tour Down Under history for Gumeracha, with the peloton to pass through the town twice and return for a furious push to the line.

Wednesday 22 January
Health Partners Stage 2 – Tanunda to Tanunda, 128.8km
Mengler Hill is back in the mix as action moves to the Barossa. Riders will approach from its steeper west side and navigate this gruelling 2.7-kilometre climb three times. It’s a route tipped to put sprinters under serious pressure ahead of a fast finish into historic Tanunda.

Thursday 23 January
efex Stage 3 – Norwood to Uraidla, 147.5km
A new climb makes its debut on this third day of racing – and word is it’s even tougher than Willunga Hill. Pound Road near Ashton reaches a maximum gradient of 22 per cent and will be contested twice, with the third pass coming just four kilometres from a technical descent to the Uraidla finish. Expect fireworks.

Friday 24 January
Hahn Stage 4 – Glenelg to Victor Harbor, 157.2km
Team tactics are set to come into play as cyclists head south to the Fleurieu Peninsula. Highlights include a journey across the Myponga Reservoir wall and a return to the Nettle Hill climb at Hindmarsh Valley that prompted plenty of drama when it featured in the 2023 race. Longtime stage finish location Victor Harbor will host another beauty.

Saturday 25 January
THINK! Road Safety Stage 5 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 145.7km
Willunga Hill has been a crucial part of the Santos Tour Down Under for decades, but always as a climb. On this stage the men will descend its steep slopes before heading out on a picturesque loop through McLaren Vale vineyards, then changing direction to ascend Willunga Hill twice. Who will attack when it counts?

Sunday 26 January
Schwalbe Stage 6 – Adelaide to Adelaide, 90km
Twenty-five years as Australia’s greatest cycling race calls for a celebration. Ours will happen in the heart of Adelaide on this closing stage, a circuit sure to set up a thrilling sprint finish. It’s the same route used from 2015 to 2018, another nod to our history and one with ample vantage points of all the action.

The Santos Tour Down Under is taking place in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 17-26 January 2025. It will feature nine days of elite racing for men and women.


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