2024 Tour Down Under

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig Surges To Take Tour Down Under Overall Lead

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig Surges To Take Tour Down Under Overall Lead

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig surged to the lead in the 2024 Tour Down Under with a powerful stage two win.

Jan 13, 2024 by AFP Report
Uttrup Ludwig Powers To Tour Down Under Win

Denmark's Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig surged to the lead in Australia's women's Tour Down Under with a powerful finish to take the second stage on Saturday, setting up a thrilling showdown to the WorldTour season opener.

The diminutive Dane (FDJ-Suez), making her Australian race debut, overpowered the peloton in the uphill finish to claim the TDU's longest stage over 104.2 kilometres (64.7 miles) from Glenelg to Stirling, outside of Adelaide.

Uttrup Ludwig's Strategy Shift In Tour Down Under

Uttrup Ludwig beat home Italians Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM) and Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team-ADQ) to take a two-second lead into Sunday's third and final stage, culminating in a make-or-break showdown on the torturous Willunga Hill.

"It just feels so good being in Australia where my boyfriend comes from and taking a win. It's just awesome," she said.

Uttrup Ludwig is looking forward to defending her leader's jersey on the iconic hill climb.

"I'm just excited. I've done it a couple of times as recon and I think it's going to be fireworks," she said.

Tour Down Under's Final Stage Showdown

Uttrup Ludwig, who pulled off an emotional stage win in the Tour de France Femmes in 2022, admitted that her victory had only come after a mid-race change of team plans.

"Plan A was to sprint for (defending champion) Grace Brown and we actually had it all figured out how to do it and I was excited about that," she said.

"But then Grace didn't feel so good, so we had to change the plan and I'm just happy I could execute."

Uttrup Ludwig has been in Australia for several weeks to acclimatize and said she has had plenty of time to familiarize herself with the race stages.

"It's just super nice to be here and get two times summer and get some racing early," she said.

Uttrup Ludwig was patient throughout the stage, positioned in the top-five before unleashing her devastating sprint with 150 metres to the finish.

She will now wear the ochre leader's jersey on the race's final battle up Willunga Hill with just 10 seconds separating the top 15 on the overall standings.

Australia's three-time winner and famed climber Amanda Spratt (Lidl-Trek) is in seventh position but well within striking distance.

Willunga Hill is synonymous with the Tour Down Under but will be used by the women's peloton for the first time this year.