10-20 January 2019

Your guide to the six stages of the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under
01 Aug 18

The stages that will open the 2019 UCI WorldTour have been announced, with the Santos Tour Down Under to again be contested across six official stages and the Classic on the streets of Adelaide.

Tourdownunder.com.au has the full breakdown on all of this year’s stages…

Distinctive aspects of the race:

  • Six stages in total
  • 909 kilometres raced
  • One climbing finish (Willunga Hill)
  • One downhill finish (Uraidla)

A truly watchable tour

Circuits, overlaps and bend-backs feature as part of this year’s tour like rarely before. Only two of the six stages will not feature a circuit, double back or return visit. Stage 1 will see the stage double back on itself between Dry Creek and Paracombe (via Main North Road and One Tree Hill Road), as well as circuits in the Houghton/Paracombe part of the Adelaide Hills and Port Adelaide. Stage 3 features a loop start near Lobethal and a whopping six circuits between Summerton, Piccadilly and Uraidla. Stage 4 sees the route overlap on itself in Echunga, and the classic McLaren Vale stage remains unchanged for 2019 – so there’s plenty of opportunity to park yourself to watch the race.

Hello Hills!

The Adelaide Hills will feature in the first four stages of the race! It’s perhaps no surprise as this gives plenty of opportunity to test the riders on hill climbs. Common routes will include Chain of Ponds (two stages), Fox Creek Road (two stages each), while residents in Houghton and Paracombe will see three stages of action in their area.

Four city starts, two city features

There’s a real footy theme to this year’s tour, with North Adelaide, Norwood, Unley and Glenelg hosting starts, and Port Adelaide hosting a finish. Athelstone also hosts a finish at Foxfield Oval.

Wide lanes

As much as the peloton will take to a swathe of single lane roads, the big motorways will feature in this year’s tour. The Port River Expressway will be used twice during Ziptrak Stage 1, the South-Eastern Freeway will feature on Stage 4, and the Southern Expressway will feature on Stage 5.

Beachy weekend

Make no mistake, this is a summer tour and race director Mike Turtur may have kept this in mind when designing stages five and six. On Saturday, the Challenge Tour will swing through the Fleurieu Peninsula en route to Strathalbyn, while Sunday will feature the classic McLaren Vale-Willunga-Aldinga circuit with a finish atop Willunga Hill.

Port Adelaide

Ziptrak® Stage 1: North Adelaide to Port Adelaide, Tuesday 15 January

The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under gets underway at 88 O’Connell Street, with riders setting off towards Dry Creek on a flat start that will see them cross the South Road Overpass and head along the Port River Expressway to Mawson Lakes.

From there, the peloton will hit its first uphill section at Blacktop Road, climbing over 3km at an average grade of just under 5%.

Subaru King of the Mountain

The fun bit comes when the peloton makes its way via Sampson Flat towards Gould Creek, and the first Subaru King of the Mountain at Snake Gully. This Category 2 climb (at 9.9%) sees the peloton ascend for 1.5km at 8% for points, with the gradient levelling out as the riders continue to ascend towards Hermitage.

Intermediate Sprints

Recreational cyclists can enjoy some pleasant views of the Adelaide CBD and Gulf St Vincent from atop this part of the north-eastern foothills, but the riders won’t be having any of that. This stage intersects 2018’s second stage, with the peloton entering Tea Tree Gully for a series of loops of a local club circuit through Houghton, Paracombe and Inglewood.

After three loops, the peloton doubles back towards its origins, with a downhill towards Mawson Lakes giving the power riders plenty of recovery time.

The finish

Instead of heading back towards North Adelaide, the peloton will complete the Port River Expressway through to Port Adelaide.

Taking a left at Perkins Drive and then onto St Vincent Street, the crowds lining the streets will see the peloton blast through the main strip before taking a right onto the Birkenhead Bridge at Nelson Street and then a right onto the Diver Derrick Bridge before completing the circuit for what promises to be a thrilling sprint finish.  

Santos Tour Down Under peloton

Stage 2: Norwood to Angaston, Wednesday 16 January

The second stage takes the peloton into the Barossa through a stage that again favours the sprinters. Norwood hosts the beginning of stage two, with the peloton to set out from its traditional start point outside of Town Hall before beginning its almost immediate ascent towards Gorge Road, where race neutral ends ant the climbing begins.

Subaru King of the Mountain

Kangaroo Creek’s series of lumpy ascensions brings the peloton through Chain of Ponds and then out towards Kersbrook. It’s here that a popular climb makes its return to the Tour, with Checker Hill Road’s Category 2 climb providing an early test to the peloton thanks to its short, but leg-busting climb.

Intermediate Sprints

From here the peloton take the ‘back way’ into popular Adelaide Hills towns Gumeracha (home of the Big Rocking Horse) and Birdwood (home of the National Motor Museum). The first intermediate sprint will take place at Birdwood, before the riders zig-zag their way towards the Barossa via Mount Pleasant, through the tree-lined roads of Mount Crawford Forest, Williamstown and Springton for the second intermediate sprint.

The Finish

After clearing Springton, the peloton begins its back-door ascension towards Mengler’s Hill, cresting to the stage’s highest point near Kaiserstuhl before a steady downhill towards Bethany.

If a breakaway has stuck to this point, they’ll want to have plenty in the tank, with the peloton having 40km of relatively flat terrain via Tanunda, Seppeltsfield, Greenock and Nuriootpa to recover a deficit for a likely sprint finish in Angaston.

Santos Tour Down Under peloton

Subaru Stage 3: Lobethal to Uraidla, Thursday 17 January

Dejavu will hit the peloton big time on Thursday, with stage three testing riders through a repetitious circuit of the some of the most popular Adelaide Hills towns.

Starting in Lobethal, the riders will head south towards Woodside, but instead take a sharp left towards Charleston, before turning left towards Lobethal again.

The peloton will repeat that loop once, before turning right on Cudlee Creek Road on the second occasion to make its way into the first big test of the day…

Intermediate Sprints

Stage three gets the business of the day completed early, with Charleston hosting the two intermediate sprints of the day. It’s no wonder, really, giving the highly undulating nature of the day’s stage, with plenty of lumpy tests to challenge the peloton.

Subaru King of the Mountain

Ascending to Cudlee Creek, the peloton will hit the day’s top speed, but that brief respite will dissipate quickly with the Category 2 climb (7.81%) at Fox Creek Road giving an early opportunity for Subaru KOM points.

From here, the peloton will continue its climb out through the picturesque orchards of Lenswood through the winding roads of Carey Gully.

The Finish

After exiting Carey Gully, the peloton will turn left at Rangeview Road towards Piccadilly. Nearby Stirling has traditionally been a start/finish location for the Santos Tour Down Under, but not in 2017.  Instead, the peloton will veer right before entering Crafters and head through Piccadilly, before working its way through to Uraidla.

This circuit is repeated six times before the downhill finish in the main street of Uraidla.

Santos Tour Down Under on King William Road

Stage 4: Unley to Campbelltown, Friday 18 January

Hello Corkscrew!

The famous series of switchbacks is, well, back! But the Stage Four Subaru King of the Mountain climb isn’t the only leg-tester in the Friday stage – it’s not even the highest point. That honour is saved very early in the day, when the peloton sets out from King William Road in Unley towards Cross Road, and a very long climb up the South Eastern Freeway to the high point in Crafers.

Intermediate Sprints

The Hills town of Echunga will host both intermediate sprints, with the first points on offer as the riders enter the town before touring through Meadows and Macclesfield and swinging back via Flaxley to complete the second sprint on reentering Echunga.

The peloton then visits Hahndorf, Mount Barker and Nairne before heading north towards Woodside, Lobethal and Lenswood and completing the reverse of Thursday’s third stage with a descent down Fox Creek Road into Cudlee Creek.

Subaru King of the Mountain

The riders will want a bit in reserve after a long day in the saddle, with the 9.0% gradient Corkscrew the last item on the agenda. This series of switchbacks hasn’t been seen on the Tour since 2014 and has been won by some of the big names in cycling – no less than Cadel Evans in fact.

The Finish

Perhaps the most noteworthy point about the return of the Corkscrew is that its 2019 king will be a strong chance to win the race.

After summiting the climb, riders will be treated to a full downhill conclusion with 5km of descent from Montacute into Maryvale Road Athelstone at Foxfield Road – depending on the number of men to cross the Subaru King of the Mountain check point, this could be a thrilling finish.

Santos Tour Down Under at Glenelg

Stage 5: Glenelg to Strathalbyn, Saturday 19 January

Sometimes one looks at a stage profile and thinks – ouch!

That’s what a few riders might be thinking when they look at what’s in store on Stage 5.

The peloton sets out from Glenelg via a semi-traditional departure towards the Fleurieu Peninsula. This year, instead of heading directly via Diagonal Road, the peloton will take Oaklands Road towards Park Holme before heading south towards the Southern Expressway. Here, the peloton will summit in O’Halloran Hill and take the entire course of the Expressway towards Old Noarlunga.

Subaru King of the Mountain

The peloton’s undulating exit from Adelaide’s suburbs concludes with the Subaru King of the Mountain checkpoint at Sellicks Hill. With a climb starting at Norman Road, the riders will ascend for just over two kilometres. The rewards is a giant tease – a right hand view of Adelaide’s beautiful coastline before a cruel left-hander that takes the riders back towards the top of Myponga Reservoir.

Intermediate Sprints

This is the highest point of the stage – some 240 metres above sea level – but the riders’ early toil will give way to a downhill recovery towards Inman Valley.

Two intermediate sprints feature in this section of the race, with checkpoints at Myponga (Main South Road) and Inman Valley (Inman Valley Road). An old KOM climb at Inman Valley is the last real challenge for the peloton, before it heads towards the popular Fleurieu tourist centre of Victor Harbor.

The Finish

After traditionally playing a role as a stage finish, Victor Harbor will feature as a thoroughfare for the peloton instead in 2019, with the riders passing by the Encounter Bay Football Club enroute to McCracken and Hayborough, where the will then head east towards Port Elliott, Middleton and Goolwa.

From here, a steady ascent back toward the Adelaide Hills sees the riders finish in Strathalbyn.

Richie Porte climbing Willunga Hill

Be Safe Be Seen MAC Stage 6: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, Sunday 20 January

The Queen Stage is the concluding stage of the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under, with the classic test of Willunga Hill to bring the race to a close with the greatest test South Australia has to offer the UCI WorldTour.

This circuit is unchanged from the traditional layout that is the staple of the tour. Starting at McLaren Vale’s main street among the iconic vineyards of the region, the peloton makes its way into the Willunga township before turning right and heading to the coast via Aldinga Beach and Port Willunga.

Intermediate Sprints

Intermediate Sprints will again take place at Snapper Point on the first two loops of the circuit.

Subaru King of the Mountain

After its fourth and final exit from the Main Road of McLaren Vale, the peloton will begin its thrilling conclusion – the Willunga Hill climb owned by Richie Porte for five consecutive years. It’s a 3km test where the peloton twice climbs the Category 1 hill amid the screams of thousands of fans lining the roads.

The Finish

You’re right for thinking that this stage could well produce the winner of the Santos Tour Down Under – after all, it’s a test for climbers and certainly puts plenty into the legs. However on the last five occasions the stage has only once been won by the race’s eventual victor (Richie Porte in 2017). In 2018, Porte won the stage, but a gutsy dash from Daryl Impey to secure second was enough to also earn the Santos Ochre Jersey on countback. Needless to say, this will be the stage everyone wants to watch.

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