Get ready for the Santos Festival of Cycling
McLaren Vale and Willunga are set to come alive on Saturday 23 January as the state’s premier cycling event heads to town—albeit looking a little different this year.
The Santos Festival of Cycling (19-24 January), presented by the Santos Tour Down Under, is a reimagined six-day domestic event being held in lieu of the TDU due to COVID-19.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the festival atmosphere in McLaren Vale, Willunga, Aldinga and surrounds, whether you’re a cycling fan, cyclist, or neither.
The City of Onkaparinga is hosting the Be Safe Be Seen Stage 3 on Saturday 23 January, which begins at McLaren Vale’s iconic d’Arenberg Cube and culminates atop Willunga Hill.
The women’s race kicks off at 10am and the men’s begins at 1pm, and there are still a limited number of free tickets available to access the start and finish locations of the women’s race (register at the Santos Festival of Cycling website).
If you miss out on tickets, never fear—you can still find wonderful vantage points along the route to enjoy the race in a COVID-safe and socially distanced way.
Both townships will be humming with excitement as the race passes by, with world-class restaurants, cafes, shops, cellar doors and distilleries open to enjoy and explore.
The Willunga Farmers Market will be open from 8am to noon, while the second annual Fleurieu Beer Festival—featuring ten local breweries, food, entertainment and live music—will be on from 2–9pm at Willunga Recreation Park.
If you’re planning on driving near or through the race routes, be aware of road closures, traffic and parking restrictions that will be in place between 5am–7:30pm
There will also be rolling road closures including, but not limited to, Main Road, McLaren Vale; Main Road, Willunga; Aldinga Beach Road (Willunga/Aldinga); and Snapper Point, Aldinga.
For those that love to ride themselves, you can get involved by taking the TDU 200 Strava Challenge.
The challenge involves downloading the Strava cycling and running app and attempting to complete 200 kilometres on your bike during the festival while the pros do battle throughout South Australia.
For the more serious cyclists, you can take on the fully closed Willunga Hill before the race starts on Saturday in the Trek Time Trial: Willunga Hill, vying against other challengers for the title of King or Queen of the Mountain.
Prize money and trophies are up for grabs, with the event including a post-race rider area stocked with food and drinks. The pros have even offered some tips for taking on the gruelling climb at the Santos Tour Down Under website.
Whether you’re a cycling fan, cyclist or simply want to soak up the festival atmosphere as the bikes go by, there’ll be something for everyone next Saturday.
Get set for action
Photo; South Australian Tourism Commission