The penultimate stage of this year’s Tour Down Under will see the riders climb the famous Old Willunga Hill twice. This is yet another stage that offers fabulous viewing opportunities, none better than Main Road, Willunga, which will see the riders pass 5 times. The stage is 151.5 kms long and is regarded as the most important of all the stages in determining the overall result.
The first time up Main Road follows a start at McLaren Vale, expected to have large crowds lining the barriers and making plenty of noise. The local cyclists like to take in the start before hopping on their own bikes once the peloton have left, to climb up Old Willunga Hill and secure themselves a good vantage point.
The riders will make their way around Aldinga Beach, Snapper Point and Port Willunga 3 times, including Jayco sprint points on the Esplanade at Snapper Point on laps 2 & 3. This circuit is always very popular as it offers views of Adelaide’s stunning southern beaches.
Both climbs up Willunga Hill are King of the Mountain points, with the last climb being a hilltop finish which will have a huge say in who wins the Tour Down Under this year. Last year it was Simon Gerrans who all but wrapped up the Ochre jersey when he was able to match rival Alejandro Valverde, Gerrans finishing 2nd with the same time and maintaining his overall lead when both riders broke away near the finish.
This year it will be Sky Procycling’s Geraint Thomas trying to hold off his rivals, with Tom-Jelte Slagter of Blanco just 5 seconds behind and a further 11 riders all within 15 seconds of the Welshman. With so many riders in striking distance, you can be assured that wave after wave of attack will occur during both climbs up Old Willunga.
The hardest decision anyone venturing to tomorrow’s stage faces is where exactly to set up. Aldinga Road offers great viewing, sees the riders pass 3 times and, after the final pass, allows plenty of time for spectators to make their way up Old Willunga Hill by foot. The beachfront has a fantastic backdrop and also receives 3 visits, Main Road’s 5 visits makes it a great choice, and those wanting the best spots on Old Willunga will head there early.
Tour Down Under Stage 5
Departing: Main Road, McLaren Vale near Tatachilla Road at 11:10am
Arriving: Old Willunga Hill Road Summit at 3:00pm approximately
Best watering hole: Alma Hotel on Main Road, Willunga, will have fantastic views as the riders pass 5 times, and it will be offering an a la carte menu during the entire race.
Best coffee stop: Bracegirdle’s on Main Road, McLaren Vale. Not only do they serve great coffee, but their range of all things chocolate has to be seen – and tasted – to be believed. And if that’s not enough chocolate, you can pop across the road to Robern Menz and pick yourself up some Fruchocs – Adelaide’s iconic apricot and peach filled chocolate balls.