Sophie Edwards #TeamUniSA Tour Down Under blog

  • By: AusCycling
  • Jan 23, 2020
  • 0
  • [addtoany]

For each Summer of Cycling, Cycling Australia prepares endurance development racing teams for the Santos Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (CEGORR) including Race Torquay, and the Herald Sun Tour.  

The UniSA-Australia provides a development opportunity for athletes within National Road Series (NRS) teams to contest UCI events within Australia, with Adelaide teenager Sophie Edwards switching the green and gold of the Australian Cycling Team’s Podium Potential Academy to take her place at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Sophie penned her thoughts on her week below.

Last week I was grateful to be given the opportunity to swap out the track bike and take part in the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. It has been a dream of mine to race the TDU, as I’ve not only watched it eagerly every year as a child in my hometown, but I also rode the family ride when I was seven, assisted at presentations and cleaned bikes in a valet service. 

The Santos Women’s Tour consisted of three hilly stages, all well over 100km with upwards of 1500m climbing. These challenging stages were followed by a technical street-circuit criterium in the heart of Adelaide, which preceded the men’s Schwalbe Classic. 

It all started in Hahndorf, a 115km stage with close to 1500m of climbing. The streets were decorated and there was a much larger crowd than I expected! It was a tough race, with the strong World Tour teams setting the tempo high up the climbs. 

It was awesome to see a daring attack by Australian Brodie Chapman almost pay off before she was caught in a super technical finishing circuit with the sprint won by another Australian, Chloe Hosking. It was a massive learning experience for me as I couldn’t just try and finish, I had to constantly be aware of where my team was and assist our GC rider as much as I could. 

Stage 2 and 3 passed through many of the bushfire affected towns, in particular, Woodside and Charleston. I could see the emotion it provoked in all of the riders, however despite the hardship, many locals lined the roads and cheered. 

My highlight of the tour was the finish of stage 3 in Stirling. It was tough going up the long Aldgate Valley road climb three times, but as we went up the final steep pinch into Stirling we were greeted by crowds, similar in size to what the men will have on Wednesday. Thank you to all of my family and friends who came to cheer me on, I heard all of you! 🙂

Thank you to the organisers for the WTDU who designed such opportunistic, exciting courses and ran the event so smoothly. Also, a massive thanks to all of the sponsors of the women’s race, which stepped it up another level and allowed all of the stages to be live-streamed for the first time! 

Lastly, I am incredibly grateful to the team at Cycling Australia and the University of SA who have generously supported the ‘up and coming’ Australian national women’s team for the last three editions of the race. 

Watch out – we’ll be back for Cadel’s Great Ocean Road Race in just over a weeks time! 

Photos by Hikari Media / University of South Australia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.