Poland’s Daria Pikulik became the first historic stage winner of the Santos Tour Down Under’s
debut UCI WorldTour race on Sunday.
Pikulik claimed the stage at the Snapper Point, Aldinga finish line beating a superb conga line of
talent including FDJ-SUEZ’s Clara Coponi and Jayco AlUla’s Georgie Baker who finished second
and third respectively.
Pikulik – who is a renowned track rider for Poland says she is is about to feature in the Madison
alongside her sister Wiktoria on the boards at the track World Cup next month – was emotional
after the win.
“I can’t believe it, this is also my very first WorldTour race for my new team (Human Powered
Health),’’ Pikulik said.
“I can’t believe it.
“My team worked so hard for this and it’s just a fantastic honour.”
Pikulik will wear the Santos leader’s jersey after she also claimed the Ziptrak sprint jersey after
her fine win.
Pikulik timed her run perfectly towards the finish line after team favourites Jayco UlUla, FDJ-
SUEZ and Trek-Segafredo traded places in a ploy to set up perfect lead-out trains before the
the 26-year-old Pole smashed their tactics to pieces.
After a pedestrian start to the race FDJ SUEZ’s Grace Brown earned valuable Ziptrak sprint
points and a time bonus.
She was ushered first across the first sprint on Main Road, Willunga as riders continued to jostle
for key positions 53.8km from home.
The reigning Australian national time trial champion’s French team was then helping Brown
conserve energy as the wind wreaked havoc on the peloton after a conservative start.
The peloton was greeted by a huge crowd at the Glenelg seaside resort start line, race director
Stuart O’Grady dropping the flag on Jetty Road signified the global women’s WorldTour was
officially open for the 2023 season.
Blustery conditions marred the race but Team Jayco AlUla attacked as predicted by pundits via
Howe who was at the front of the peloton before the first major climb of the day.
Gladys Verhulst from FDJ SUEZ claimed the honour.
She will wear the queen of the mountain jersey on stage 2 Birdwood to Uraidla on Monday after
sprinting across the line in pole position at the 34.4km mark of the historic race seconds before a
Team Bridgelane’s Keely Bennett crashed heavily with what appeared to be a touch of wheels
descending the efex queen of the mountain Chaffey’s Climb.
Bennett who was in solid form at the Bay Crits earlier this month was touted as a dark horse to
win the stage before FDJ SUEZ took control of the race for gun Australian rider Grace Brown
with 57km to go.
The peloton took a good look at the Snapper Point finish line when they crossed the beachside
road’s finish line for the first time with two more loops of a circuit to go before the Santos Tour
Down Under would have a historic first WorldTour stage winner.
SANTOS OCHRE LEADER’S JERSEY – Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health)
ZIPTRAK® SPRINT JERSEY – Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health)
EFEX QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN JERSEY – Gladys Verhulst (FDJ SUEZ)
ZWIFT YOUNG RIDER’S JERSEY – ALLY WOLLASTON (NEW ZEALAND)