Inaugural Santos Women's Tour to start in January, and will run alongside the men's Tour Down Under

A new women’s race will run alongside the men’s Tour Down Under in Australia in January, the event’s organiser announced on Thursday.

The Santos Women’s Tour builds on the success of the previously run Santos Women’s Cup, and runs for four days over January 17-20 in and around Adelaide. The event will be part of the Subaru National Road Series.

“This is shaping up as one of the largest national female cycling events of its type, and we’re delighted it’s going to be in Adelaide in January as part of the Santos Tour Down Under,” said Tourism Minister Leon Bignell.

The women’s race takes place at the same time as the men’s Tour Down Under (January 17-25), the opening WorldTour event of the 2015 season. It’s a good move by the organiser, ensuring that there will already be a sizeable media contingent covering cycling in the area.

The race comprises two criterium stages, on days two and four, with two road race stages, on days one and three. It is expected that the top Australian riders and teams will take part in the event, which is also open to individual riders and offers a total prize pot of $10,000 (£5,446).

Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green said: “As the cycling world turns its eyes towards Adelaide for the first WorldTour event of the year, it is fantastic to have our premier domestic series share the international stage.

“The elevation of the Santos Women’s Tour to be part of the Subaru National Road Series status for 2015 provides a great racing opportunity for our elite level cyclists, also allowing their skills to be showcased to the world.”