Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis are among the WorldTour professionals who will line up to take part in the Santos Festival of Cycling in January 2022. The event, which replaces the Tour Down Under for a second year in a row, sees a men’s race between 23-25 January, and a women’s race 27-29 January.
The pair have three overall wins of the Tour Down Under between them, with Porte triumphing in 2017 and 2020, while Dennis won in 2015. The former has also won eight stages in the WorldTour event.
Porte will line up for Team Garmin Australia rather than Ineos Grenadiers, while it will be the first race for Dennis in the colours of Jumbo-Visma. Joining Porte on the Australian team will be fellow Ineos professional Luke Plapp, and the women’s team will include Grace Brown, who has moved from BikeExchange to FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope in the off-season.
Plapp will be in his first season at Ineos Grenadiers, joining the team after he caught the eye during the Australian racing season last winter.
Chris Harper will race alongside Dennis for Jumbo-Visma. Team BikeExchange Jayco will also be fielding teams at the Festival of Cycling, with new signings Ruby Roseman-Gannon, Georgia Baker and Alexandra Manly lining up for the women’s race, while Luke Durbridge and Australian champion Cameron Meyer will be lining up in the men’s edition.
Veteran road captain Simon Clarke is also down to ride the event. While he is still contracted to Team Qhubeka NextHash for 2022, there are doubts surrounding the future of the team. Last week the UCI revealed it had refused its WorldTour licence for 2022.
The Festival of Cycling’s men’s race director, Simon Clarke, said: “South Australians and visiting cycling fans alike will this year have the opportunity to not only watch Australia’s best domestic cyclists but also a great selection of WorldTeam riders bringing together a strong peloton for the 2022 Santos Festival of Cycling.
“The inclusion of Grace, Richie and Luke in Australia’s national team will provide a wonderful opportunity for Australia’s next generation of champions – predominantly under 19 and first year under 23 riders – to mix with and learn from Australia’s current stars.”
The race is running in place of the WorldTour Tour Down Under for a second year in a row due to the pandemic and related border restrictions in place in Australia.
Here is the confirmed start list of teams and their squads so far.
Santos Festival of Cycling startlist
Team Garmin Australia
PORTE Richie (Aus)
PLAPP Luke (Aus)
BROWN Grace (Aus)
DENNIS Rohan (Aus)
HARPER Chris (Aus)
Team BikeExchange Jayco
DURBRIDGE Luke (Aus)
MEYER Cameron (Aus)
ROSEMAN-GANNON Ruby (Aus)
BAKER Georgia (Aus)
MANLY Alexandra (Aus)