The 17th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under tournament in 2015 played out in front of a crowd of 115,000 fans. The six stage race saw Australian and international riders fighting for the coveted ochre jersey and the honour of the first WorldTour win of the season.
The final stage of Australia’s premier international cycling race on Sunday, January 25, happened on the roads of Adelaide’s northern city centre – the riders looped a 4.5km urban course 20 times, making for a total of 90km. Drama heightened early in the penultimate lap when a big crash split the field, sucking in a few dozen riders. However, South Australian Rohan Dennis managed to avoid it, racing to victory at the finish line.
Some might even say Australia Day came early in Adelaide with locals taking a clean sweep of the podium. Dennis won the Santos Ochre Leader’s jersey by a two-second lead over Tasmanian Richie Porte. And he finished 20 seconds clear of teammate Cadel Evans, one of Australia’s road cycling greats, who ended his legendary 20 year professional cycling career in overall third place.
Evans, who is retiring this month, embraced Dennis on the finish line, a symbolic passing of the the baton to the next generation. Dennis, who at 24 years old has many years left ahead of him, hoisted his bike high up into the air on the podium to a cheering crowd. This is the biggest win of his career to date, though he has world titles both on track on road to his name already, as well as Commonwealth and Olympic Games silver medalsunder his belt. Dennis has now set his sights on holy grail the Tour de France later this year.
During laps 10 and 15 cyclists also fought it out for the Category 3 Subaru King of the Mountain climb, which went to Jack Bobridge. “They sat at the front, they made sure I was out of the wind – even when I got pushed back, someone always jumped back and pulled me back forward,” he told Cycling News. “Hats off to them again, they really helped me win this and made it look a lot easier.” Remember, if you’re thinking about attending the next Santos Down Under, start planning early and don’t forget to book your Adelaide car hire with Hertz.