Heat is on at the Tour Down Under

Roger Vaughan
(Australian Associated Press)

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 21ST TOUR DOWN UNDER

* The 21st Tour Down Under is from January 15-20

* Race organisers have altered the first two stages because of concerns about the heat and wind. It is forecast to be 40-plus before a cool change on Thursday

* For the first time in race history, there will be no street circuit race on the last day. Instead, the Queen Stage at Willunga will be held on Sunday

* Race director Mike Turtur has made the Tour route progressively harder in the last few years and the days of a sprinter winning the overall title are long gone

THE ROUTE

Tuesday, stage one – North Adelaide to Port Adelaide, 129km. After three loops of an Adelaide Hills circuit, the finish is one for the sprinters

Wednesday, stage two – Norwood to Angaston, 122km. Another potential sprint finish. The Baross stage is shortened by about 27km because of the forecast heat

Thursday, stage three – Lobethal to Uraidla, 146.2. The addition of a tough finishing circuit, which the race will cover six times, makes this Adelaide Hills stage crucial for the overall contenders

Friday, stage four – Unley to Campbelltown, 129.2km. This Hills stage has a sting in the tail, with the steep Corkscrew climb about 5km from the finish

Saturday, stage five – Glenelg to Strathalbyn, 149.5km. After visiting popular south coast spots such as Goolwa and Victor Harbor, the stage ends in the Hills.

Sunday, stage six – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 151.5km. The summit finish south of Adelaide always crowns the Tour champion and for the first time, it also ends the race.

RIDERS TO WATCH

Overall

Daryl Impey (Zaf, Mitchelton-Scott), defending champion

Richie Porte (Aus, Trek-Segafredo) the King of Willunga Hill, winning the last five stages there

Michael Woods (Can, EF Education First) – third at last year’s world road championships

Wout Poels (Ned, Team Sky) – 2016 Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner

Sprinters

Caleb Ewan (Aus, Lotto-Soudal) – new team, won the Down Under Classic for the third time on Sunday

Elia Viviani (Ita, Deceuninck-Quick Step) – crashed in the Classic, prolific race winner

Peter Sagan (Svk, Bora-Hansgrohe) three-time world champion

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