Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to take support role on Tour Down Under debut

Dane enjoying Australian summer racing as FDJ-SUEZ target title defence with Grace Brown

Clock15:37, Thursday 11th January 2024
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig will ride in support of her teammates in the heat of her first Australian summer

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig will ride in support of her teammates in the heat of her first Australian summer

For a race as established as the women’s Santos Tour Down Under, and a rider as omnipresent as Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ), it’s a surprising realisation that the Dane has never previously ridden the Australian WorldTour opener.

Travelling down under to start her season in Adelaide for the first time, Uttrup Ludwig will be a newcomer in the Tour Down Under peloton this weekend, and be getting a taste of Australian summer racing.

Spending part of December in Australia with her boyfriend, who is also racing the Tour Down Under this week, the Danish rider has had plenty of time to acclimatise.

“Why not?” was her response when GCN asked why she had chosen to make her debut now. “Initially my boyfriend, he's Australian, so it's just super nice to be here and get two times summer and get some racing early.”

Though the women’s Tour Down Under is growing in stature, it’s still a very early season race, and many riders and teams struggle to justify starting racing so early and travelling so far to do so, with big European goals still a month off.

“It's a race that I've wanted to do for quite a while, but just never really had the opportunity to go here yet,” Uttrup Ludwig explained. “But now, it was time, and I'm excited to be doing it. And I think I've heard the Australian crowds are really awesome.”

Perhaps the fact she won’t be looked at as a leader in Adelaide also helps make racing worth it, with the event more an extension of warm weather training rather than a big goal.

With teammate Grace Brown set to try to defend her overall title, the often-exuberant rider will be in support mode for FDJ-SUEZ this weekend, albeit on a course that suits her abilities too.

Read more: Women's Santos Tour Down Under 2024 race preview

“I'll be helping Grace as much as I can,” she confirmed.

“We are sending a strong team. Of course, we want to defend the title - when you're coming in as a defending champion, you want to do well. Hopefully you can see some fireworks.”

Whether a TDU assault of her own may be in her future depends on how this race ultimately fits into and affects her wider season, but it’s clear Uttrup Ludwig is in good spirits in Australia.

“Maybe in the future [I’ll go for my own ambitions] but for now, I'm actually just happy being here. It’s super nice weather, I’m happy to support Grace, there should be some fun days of racing.

“I like the parcours, so hopefully it will increase so that we can do more stages in the future.”

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