January 2024 Road Racing Preview

January 2024 Road Racing Preview

January can be a tough month for people, with the Christmas and New Year period over, and the weather worsening there’s not much to look forward to. Apart from one thing: the start of the cycling season.

So, we thought we’d look back on last year and summarise what's coming this time around!


The Tour Down Under 2024

16th - 21st January – Men’s Edition

The first few stages of the Tour Down Under offer several chances for bunch sprints, including a couple of punchy days which hint at the chance of a successful breakaway. Then 2024’s edition sees a return of Willunga Hill on the penultimate 5th Stage, with the challenging 3km climb featuring gradients ranging from an average of 7% to a whopping 15.6%, promising to offer fireworks before Mount Lofty will once again prove to be decisive on the final day.

The starting list is certainly star studded, with Caleb Ewan, (Team Jayco-AlUla), Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty) and Sam Welsford (BORA-hansgrohe) promising to light up any bunch sprints with their presence, whilst Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) will be seeking to build on his stage win from last time around. Even with Jay Vine opting not to defend his Ochre Jersey, the riders looking to get some early season GC form are certainly not to be sniffed at. Filippo Ganna (INEOS) will make a serious effort, and former World Champion yet recently frustrated Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) will attempt a return to his best. However, last year’s runner up, Simon Yates (UAE Team Emirates) will surely be the favourite to add the Australian race to his list of honours.


12th - 14th January Women’s Edition

This season is an exciting one for the women’s peloton, as for the first time ever they will tackle the legendary Willunga Hill. Unlike Jay Vine, compatriot Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez) will return to defend her title on that challenging climb, but we’re sure Amanda Spratt (Lidl-Trek) will once again offer stiff competition. Other big names making an appearance include Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez), who we always keep a look out for in the results column, the Dane having contributed an excellent piece to The Road Book 2021.


Vuelta a San Juan Internacional

Unfortunately, as a result of internal political instability preventing European teams from competing, the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional will not be staged this year.


Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 – Gran Premio V. 

20th January

The one-day Classic continues to make its way back to Cycling’s lofty heights with 8 WorldTour teams competing in this year’s edition. The 190km course winds its way along the Spanish coast from Valencia to the picturesque town of La Nucia. The opening 30km of the race contain some exposed coastal sections which should generate some crosswinds, before the small but punchy 3rd category climb of Alto de Barx gives the climbers their first chance to really stretch their legs. The CC Valenciana should be an exciting watch throughout, but the decisive move will come on the Alto de Bixauca, a 17km, 2nd category climb on the outskirts of Castell de Castells. Whilst the gradients are fairly forgiving to begin, between the 12th and 13th kilometre of the climb it soars to 9.5%, meaning that if a rider or two can open a gap, they may well be able to make it stick.


Challenge Mallorca

Women’s Races

20th January – Trofeo Felanitx-Colonia de Sant Jordi

21st January – Trofeo Palma 

22nd January – Trofeo Binissalem-Andratx


Men’s Races

24th January – Trofeo Calvià

25th January – Trofeo Port D’Alcudia – Port D’Alcudia

26th January – Trofeo Serra Tramuntana

27th January – Trofeo Pollença - Port d'Andratx

28th January – Trofeo Palma

It is a landmark year for the series of one day races held on the beautiful Spanish Island as for the first time the organisers will supplement the traditional 5 men’s ‘Trofeo’ races, with a three-day, three-race women’s event. Often used as a way to pick up some early season form, as riders can chose which races they compete in, those of the women’s peloton who haven’t travelled to Australia, will look forward to a chance to settle in to the season, whilst watching the Balearic coast pass by.

A number of the men’s WorldTour teams have already confirmed their participation, including Soudal Quick-Step, UAE Team Emirates and Movistar. Whilst those competing in the Tour Down Under will be unlikely to make an appearance, if last year’s list of winners is anything to go by (Rui Costa and Kobe Gossens both won races), then the cobbles and hills of Mallorca will make for a thrilling spectacle in late January.


The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2024

27th January – Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Women’s Elite Edition

28th January – Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Men’s Elite Edition

The end of January will feature the return of The Cadel Evans Road Race, looping around the city of Geelong on an exact repeat of the route used at last year’s edition. With a few twists and turns, and a stretch along the waterfront exposed to the oceanic elements, before four stabs at the 830m Challambra climb immediately prior to the finish line; the course contains plenty of technical sections and will certainly be an interesting watch. Echeloning, and breakaways are both perfectly possible before the probable bunch sprint for both the men and the women’s pelotons.

This intriguing, and gruelling course offered up a pair of surprise results in both editions last season after it’s Covid enforced hiatus. In the Women’s race, FDJ-Suez’s Loes Adegeest out-thought and out-fought Amanda Spratt to steal her first WorldTour victory in the finishing sprint. Whilst for the men, DSM’s young German talent Marius Mayrhofer surged past Australian National Champion Luke Plapp in the final straight to take his first ever career victory. Both races were characterised by surges of successive attacks on each circuit of Challambra wearing out the peloton, before the riders who had kept their powder the driest sneaking a victory from under the noses of the established stars. Will this year’s edition serve up the same surprises, or will returning stars like Luke Plapp have learnt from their experience on the course?


That’s our look ahead to January of 2024, but there’s no better way to prepare for the future than by learning from the past, so we really recommend picking up a Road Book to reminisce on January’s past and think about the season to come.

If you haven’t already got one, grab a Road Book on our site here: https://theroadbook.co.uk/collections/all-products


Written by Henrik Bassett

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