Unley will host the start of Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under, with the riders departing on the cobbles of King William Road at 11am. A big crowd is expected to line the streets, with the cafes sure to be packed with people taking the chance to go out for breakfast and secure prime viewing spots to watch the action unfold.
The riders make their way to Cross Road via Unley Park, then turn right and head up the South Eastern Freeway. Race neutral ends at the Old Toll Gate on the Freeway, and after 2.5kms the riders turn up Mt Barker Road to contest the first King of the Mountain, awarded to the rider to reach the Eagle on the Hill summit first. The climb to Eagle on the Hill is approximately 4 kilometres long at a relatively friendly average gradient of just over 6%, so don’t expect any attacks other than those looking for points for the King of the Mountain jersey.
The riders continue on Mt Barker Road until they hit Stirling, where they start the first of 6 laps that take in Heathfield, Longwood, Bradbury, Mylor and Aldgate. Each lap is 21.3 kilometres in length, meaning you won’t have to wait a long time before the riders come past each time.
The finish is on Mt Barker Road near the Stirling Oval in Stirling, and the finish line can often be hard to find a spot as spectator numbers can outweigh decent vantage points. With an undulating course, it’s unlikely to be a bunch sprint, and this stage could well fall to one of the Classics riders in the field, with my tip being Sky Procycling’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
With 6 opportunities to see the riders once they hit the street circuit after reaching Stirling, this is probably the best stage for spectators other than the final stage in the CBD. If you choose not to fight the masses at the finish in Stirling, you could do a lot worse to set up camp in one of the other towns and sit back and enjoy the days racing.
Tour Down Under Stage 3
Departing: King William Road, Unley near Opey Street at 11am
Finish: Mt Barker Road, Stirling near the Stirling Oval at 2:30pm approximately
Best watering hole: Definitely the Aldgate Pump Hotel, which has opened its brand new terrace ready for patrons to sit back, relax and watch the riders go past the front door.
Best coffee stop: King William Road will come alive as the riders start the race on its cobbles. There are a host of good cafes where you can stop in for breakfast or a coffee, then watch the riders take off and head towards Stirling.