Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism
South Australian cyclist Maeve Moroney-Plouffe will be competing in her first Santos Women’s Tour Down Under this week, 12 months after meeting her idols on the podium as a Stage Assistant.
Last year the South Australian Government ensured the Santos Tour Down Under was the first major cycling race in the world to do away with models as stage assistants.
Eight junior cycling champions did job instead, including Maeve - State boys champions for the men's race and young women for the women's race.
It got the international cycling world talking with Italy ruling out any change and Spain agreeing to consider it.
This decision aimed to reward top junior cyclists by providing them with an opportunity to go behind the scenes of the biggest cycling race outside of Europe and learn more about professional racing.
At only 18 years of age, Maeve will be one of the youngest riders in the competition as she battles it out in the peloton as part of the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS) team.
There will be 13 junior cyclists acting as Stage Assistants during the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under and Santos Women’s Tour Down Under.
Like Maeve last year, they will have access to the world’s best riders and an inside look at how a top level international race works.
Quotes attributable to Tourism Minister Leon Bignell
Maeve is a shining example of why we decided to replace the traditional podium girls with junior cyclists.
We want to inspire more young people to participate in sport and providing this opportunity for junior cyclists to see behind the scenes and meet their cycling heroes is a great leg up for aspiring professional athletes.
We were the first major international race in the world to make this change and hopefully we will inspire other events to follow our lead.
We have also put in record funding for women's sporting infrastructure across South Australia because we believe girls and women should have the same opportunities as boys and blokes.
Last year Maeve was one of our Stage Assistants and this year she’ll be out riding with the professionals. It's a terrific result for Maeve and the Santos Tour Down Under.
Maeve is a fantastic local young gun of cycling and I’m sure the experience of seeing the race up close and personal last year will help to make some of the nerves and preparations which come with a professional race a little bit easier.
Quotes attributable to Maeve Moroney-Plouffe
For me this is a race I have watched ever since I was a junior and it was something I have always aspired to do. I am honoured to be able to ride this race, in what will be the biggest Santos Women’s Tour Down Under to date.
To be able to race at this level at home, in front of my family and friends is an amazing opportunity. The past 12 months have seen me travel internationally and around Australia to compete so it is finally nice to be able to compete on the roads that I have trained on my whole life.
The experience of being a Stage Assistant last year allowed me to meet, and for the first time, be around the women’s pro riders in the peloton. As a young rider this was really inspiring and gave me the confidence to keep focusing on my goals.