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Santos Tour Down Under returns to open 2023 calendar

Aussie event slated for January 13-22 after two years of COVID cancelations.

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The Santos Tour Down Under is back on the calendar for 2023.

Organizers confirmed this weekend that the Aussie race is in the diary for January 13-22 after two years of COVID-related cancelations.

Strict lockdowns pulled the handbrake on the Australian international summer of cycling for the past two years. The recent easing of restrictions gives organizers hope for the race’s return next January.

“I can say emphatically and with great excitement that we are ready,” race director Stuart O’Grady said in a statement Saturday.

The six-stage men’s event traditionally opened the WorldTour calendar, with the accompanying four-day women’s ProSeries race playing out the days before.

The 2021 and 2022 Tours Down Under were replaced by the domestic Festival of Cycling, leaving the international peloton to start their season under cool, grey European skies.

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The summer sun and sprinter-friendly routes on tap in Adelaide and southern Australia became a firm favorite of the peloton through the race’s recent history, and the Tour Down Under’s return will likely be greeted with enthusiasm throughout.

“Elite cyclists love starting their seasons in south Australia and the amazing welcome they receive from fans here. For many of the teams, the Santos Tour Down Under is their favorite race experience of the year,” O’Grady said.

“We look forward to seeing familiar faces who we haven’t seen in south Australia since the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under, as well as riders who are experiencing the event for the first time.”