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santos festival of cycling
Young guns shine at Festival of Cycling

Last week, the Santos Festival of Cycling gave fans their fix of world-class bike riding, with two 20-year-olds continuing their climb to stardom, and one old(er) faithful doing what he does best.

Though the Tour Down Under joined the long list of events falling victim to COVID restrictions, the South Australian government and race directors managed to morph Australia's biggest pro cycling event into an entertaining 'Festival of Cycling' – with no international stars, but plenty of home-grown talent on display.

Great Vic alumni Sarah Gigante continued her dominance of the sport, sweeping the field by three minutes overall and becoming the first female Queen of Willunga Hill as the women took on the iconic climb for the first time.

Fellow 20-year-old and Brunswick Cycling Club teammate Luke Plapp showed exciting signs for the future of Aussie racing, with an impressive solo win on Stage 2, before catching up with the undisputed King of Willunga Richie Porte and gracefully letting his team mate claim his seventh crown. Race leader Luke Durbridge finished third on the hill to claim the overall title.

But for cycling fans who are excited for a return to some sort of normality in the 2021 event calendar, Richie's words in his post ride interview ring true: "It's just good to be back."

The festival also included a mountain bike race, BMX showdown competition, virtual time trials and the return of the paracycling relay race.  

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.