2024 Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Race Report

How the race finished

Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-Soudal Team) sprinted to her first win on the Women’s World Tour in the opening stage of the 2024 Tour Down Under. Georgia Baker (Liv Alula Jayco) and Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) completed the podium.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

The 93.9km stage started in the historic town of Hahndorf, with the first part of the stage rolling in a loop through the Adelaide Hills towns, before swinging east towards the finish in Campbelltown. The race got off to a relatively quiet start, with riders seemingly cautious and wanting to use their energy wisely on what was pegged to be a stage for the sprinters. 

The peloton rolled through the first of the two intermediate sprint points for the day intact, with newly crowned Australian national champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv Alula Jayco) picking up the points ahead of teammate Georgia Baker and Dominika Wlodarczyk (UAE Team ADQ). 

Finally seeing an opportunity, Matilda Reynolds (Team Bridgelane) attacked straight after the intermediate sprint. She was quickly joined by India Grangier (Coop-Repsol) and Katia Ragusa (Human Powered Health) and the trio developed a small lead over the peloton. Kate Richardson (Lifeplus Wahoo) tried to jump across, and despite the relatively small gaps, found herself in for a long chase, caught between the two groups and the lead trio pushed on.

On the long straight into the base of the first categorised climb of the day, the peloton eased a little, and for Richardson, the trio were visible, a tantalising 10 seconds up ahead. On the short, steep climb Ragusa proved strongest, claiming maximum points ahead of Grangier and Reynolds. A few kilometres later, Richardson finally made contact with the leading trio.

The quartet increased their lead to over three minutes, with Ragusa also claiming the maximum points at the second intermediate sprint ahead of Grangier and Reynolds. At around 40 kilometres to go the peloton behind increased the pace, and the gap to the breakaway began to drop away. Taking three from three, Ragusa then stamped her claim on the QoM jersey by also proving strongest over the second categorised climb of the day. 

Reynolds, who had initiated the breakaway after the first intermediate sprint, used the final categorised climb to launch another attack – this time going solo with 35 kilometres remaining. As the peloton closed in on the break, Ragusa suffered a mechanical that saw her time out front come to an end, and Grangier and Richardson were caught shortly after. 

With around 20 km remaining, Reynolds held a solo lead of 1 minute over the peloton. A few nerves in the first race of the year saw a handful of small crashes in the bunch, but everyone seemed able to continue. On the high speed descent down Gorge Road the peloton reeled Reynolds back without much effort, and at 9km to go it was all back together. 

Lidl-Trek and AG Insurance-Soudal Team led the peloton, with Canyon//SRAM Racing, FDJ-Suez and Liv Alula Jayco all coming to the front to position their sprinters. With 2km to go Liv Alula Jayco and Lidl-Trek held the front, one team on each side of the road in the drag race to the line. Riders from both teams began to drop, and as they came over the small punch climb and under the 1km to go banner the lead out trains were barely intact. Roseman-Gannon dropped off Baker for the sprint, taking the line up the barriers, but Wollaston launched straight up the centre and powered away to win by more than a bike length, taking her first win on the Women’s World Tour. 

Stage Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Race Report by Sophie Hamer

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