Tour Down Under 2013 guide
South Australia is gearing up to kick off the 2013 pro racing season with the Santos Tour Down Under, and Margot McGovern has your guide to all the on and off-road action.
The Santos Tour Down Under is both the premier event in the UCI racing calendar and the only UCI WorldTour race held in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2012 it drew a crowd of more than 760,000 spectators, with over 36,000 cycling fans travelling from interstate or overseas to watch the world’s best battle it out for the coveted Ochre Jersey. The 2013 Tour is set to be even bigger as the race celebrates its 15th birthday and Adelaide gears up to party.
In 2012 Australia ruled the podium, with Simon Gerrans claiming the the overall win and Rohan Dennis riding hard to win both the Skoda King of the Mountains and Cycle Instead Young Rider jersey. This year Aussie fans have plenty to cheer for as our two teams – Orcia GreenEDGE and Team UniSA – set out to improve on last year’s success. They’ll race against the other 17 UCI pro teams, including the unshakable Team Sky, who dominated the 2012 Tour de France and came second in the teams classification behind RadioShack–Nissan in the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under.
According to race director Mike Turtur, the 2013 race is set to introduce some exciting firsts to mark the Tour’s 15th year. The Stage Two route from Mount Barker to the suburb of Rostrevor is making its debut and features a new King of the Mountain challenge on Corkscrew Road. Stage One includes three sprints – the first stage ever to do so – and Stage Four begins in Civic Park, Modbury, with what Turtur claims is “the first grass start in this event’s history and, as far as I’m aware, in any other road racing event too”.
The main race takes place between 20 and 27 January, with the People’s Choice Classic giving fans a taste of the action on Sunday the 20th. However, the party begins on the 19th with team presentations at the Adelaide City Council Tour Village in Victoria Square as part of the Santos Festival of Cycling. Before the competition gets tense out on the road, spectators can spend some time exploring the Village and Expo where you can get your fill of all the behind-the-scenes action, browse sponsor stalls and, if you’re lucky, rub shoulders with the peloton’s elite. Later in the week, the Village will also screen race highlights for those who can’t get to a roadside seat. The Tour will also be covered by official broadcaster Channel Nine.
On Monday 21st the celebrations continue as Prospect Road, the site of the first stage start, plays host to the Tourrific Prospect street party, featuring live bands, bike demonstrations, kids’ activities and some of the best food and wine South Australia has to offer.
To really celebrate in style, suit up for the Legends’ Night Dinner and dine with some of the world’s biggest cycling stars. The dinner takes place on Saturday, 26 January, at the Adelaide Convention Centre overlooking the River Torrens, and tickets are priced at $250 per person.
Fans can be part of the action and tackle the Bupa Challenge Tour, a mass participation ride on 25 January following the Stage Four course from Modbury to Tanunda in the hours before the race passes through. The Challenge Tour includes 127km, 92km, 46.5km and 20km ride options, with registrations priced between $55–$145, depending on distance.
The next generation of cycling stars can also get a chance to shine with the Bupa Mini Tour for Kids, presented by UniSA. Held on the Stage Six Adelaide City Council Circuit on 27 January, young riders aged 6–12 years have the chance to burn up the same bitumen as the pros. Entry costs $30.
People’s Choice Classic – 20 January
At 7pm, head to Rymill Park in Adelaide’s east end to see your favourite riders up close and in action. The People’s Choice Classic is a 51km race over twenty laps of the closed circuit course around part of the Adelaide Street Circuit and gives a preview of the grueling competition to come.
Stage One – 22January
The first official stage leaves from Prospect and takes the race out of the city into the Adelaide hills via the notorious Checker Hill, one of the race’s two category one climbs. The 135km stage also features three sprints on Onkaparinga Valley Road as part of a three-lap circuit between Lobethal and Woodside before the finish line. Find a spot on Main Street, Lobethal, to see who will claim the first stage win.
Stage Two – 23 January
The second stage is a 116.5km snaking route from Mt Barker to Rostrevor. Expect to see the zippier riders pedaling flat out at Echunga and Oakbank for the Jayco Sprint Jersey. With the stage passing through the landmark towns of Hahndorf, Oakbank and Lenswood, be sure to sample some of the best food and wine the region has to offer, as well as getting your fill of race-side action.
Bike Exchange Stage Three – 24 January
See off the riders on King William Road, Unley, while you catch up on all the latest race news other cycling fans at one of the many bike-friendly cafes on the strip. The 139km route quickly heads away from the city via the South Eastern Freeway, with the climbers racing for points at Eagle on the Hill, before the route loops through Heathfield, Longwood, Bradbury, Mylor and Aldgate to finish at Stirling.
Bupa Stage Four – 25 January
This is the same 126.5km route you’ll ride if you take on the Bupa Challenge Tour. Beginning in the suburb of Modbury, the race zig-zags north-west of the city through One Tree Hill, Kersbrook, Williamstown and Birdwood before sweeping into the heart of the Barossa Valley. Head to Tanunda to cheer the riders over the finish line then spend the afternoon exploring one of Australia’s finest wine regions.
Jayco Stage Five – 26 January
On day five the race heads to the south-east coast. But don’t be fooled by the festive, beachy atmosphere. At 151.5km this is the longest and most grueling stage of the Tour, with riders facing the Old Willunga Hill category one climb twice, the second time for a mountain top finish. For spectacular views of both the beach and the race, head to Snapper Point near Aldinga Beach where the sprinters will be in fierce competition.
Stage Six – 27 January
To soak up the final-day action, pack a picnic and head to Elder Park or the North Adelaide parklands and watch the riders sprint 90km around the Adelaide City Council Street Circuit. Unlike the other stages which start at 11am, this last leg of the Tour begins at 1:15pm to make way for the Bupa Mini Tour. Be sure to stick around to watch the champagne flow at the jersey winners’ presentation in Elder Park following the race.
The December-January Get Festive issue of Ride On, where this article appears, is out now on Australian newsstands. It includes a holiday riding special, gift guide and bikes-on-cars how-to, on top of the usual host of product reviews, maintenance and skills suggestions and latest news.
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