16-26 January 2020 / Adelaide, Australia

UniSA-Australia announces Santos WTDU team
06 December 2018

Lauren Kitchen (Left) in action for UniSA-Australia at the 2018 Santos Women's Tour Down Under (Pic: Kirsty Baxter)

FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope’s Lauren Kitchen will lead the UniSA-Australia team at the 2019 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, as part of the star line-up for the event that will be led by top line and up-and-coming Aussie talent.

She will be joined by fellow pro Rachel Neylan – both returning to wear the national colours in the four-day race journey through Adelaide and its regions from January 10-13.

Joining them will be Australia’s rising road stars Emily Roper (Queensland), Rebecca Wiasak (ACT), Josie Talbot (NSW) and Anya Louw (Tasmania).

Roper finished second overall in the 2018 National Racing Series, while former track world champion Wiasak will race in the UniSA jersey as she continues to transition to a road racing career.

She also claimed 2018’s female criterium crown.

Youth riders Talbot, a rider for the NSW Institute of Sport and holder of the High Performance Network scholarship has spent the year participating in the United States, while Louw – a member of the Tasmanian Institute - will race for the first time against an elite international open-age field.

“I like working with the younger riders and trying to get the most out of them,” said Kitchen, who will be the on-road captain for the team.

“I think I have progressed in this area professionally in the last few years with my FDJ team, so I look forward to the opportunity with UniSA-Australia for the Santos TDU.

“It’s good that the younger riders from Australia have the chance to race with more seasoned riders at the Tour Down Under, Cadels and the Sun Tour.

“It’s a great way to progress and also showcase their skills to European and American teams. For me, it’s also a great way to kickstart my season before the classics and racing in Australia is something I always enjoy.”

Rach Neylan in action for UniSA-Australia pic: Kirsty Baxter

Rach Neylan in action for UniSA-Australia (pic: Kirsty Baxter)

Cycling Australia performance director Simon Jones will head up the team, along with technical director (road) Brad McGee, GM of Sport Kipp Kaufmann and Summer of Cycling road coordinator Donna Rae-Szalinski.

“These teams support the ongoing development of athletes within the Cycling Australia performance pathway,” said Jones.

“We know that the route to being a world class road rider takes time, persistence and patience. Our framework for future success supports athletes and teams and this selection process supports our overall performance strategy.”

The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under will mark the 18th year that the University of South Australia has supported professional cycling at the nation’s marquee stage race.

Ahead of the UniSA-Australia men’s team being announced next week, the University’s vice chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the partnership with the race remains a cornerstone of its support for young athletes.

“Next year, we will have been sponsors of this event for 18 years and it is now one of the most important international sporting events on the calendar in Australia,” Professor Lloyd said.

“We’re always proud to support young people as they develop their talents.  In sponsoring the women’s team, we hope to inspire more women to be the best they can be.”

The Santos Women’s Tour Down Under takes place from 10-13 January 2019 and opens the 11-day festival of cycling that is the Santos Tour Down Under, which runs from 10-20 January overall.

UniSA-Australia team roster

Lauren Kitchen (NSW - FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)

Anya Louw (Tasmania)

Rachel Neylan (South Australia)

Emily Roper (Queensland)

Josie Talbot (NSW)

Rebecca Wiasak (ACT)

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