Prospect hosts the start of bikeexchange.com.au Stage 2 of the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under, with the riders facing a ride of 150 kilometres up through the Adelaide Hills, finishing in the town of Stirling.
After the race leaves Prospect the riders head north to Elizabeth, before turning onto Blacktop Road towards One Tree Hill. The first sprint point awaits the riders as they reach One Tree Hill, 26 kilometres into the stage.
The race then continues to Golden Grove, where the first of two Skoda King of the Mountains will be reached, this one at the top of Seaview Road, 35 kilometres into the stage.
The category 2 climb is only around 2.5 kilometres long with an average gradient just over 4%, but it will still provide an early test for the legs of those with ambitions in this year’s Tour.
From there, the stage heads through Inglewood and Chain of Ponds before we reach our second and final Skoda King of the Mountain climb up the notorious Checker Hill Road.
This category 2 climb is short, at just over 600 metres, but boasts an average gradient of 14.2% – certainly not one for the faint hearted – and this climb could cause splits in the peloton.
There are still almost 94 kilometres of racing left as the riders crest this climb, however, so anyone dropped has a good chance of re-joining the peloton.
After catching their breath, the riders head through Gumeracha, Lobethal and Woodside before reaching our second and final sprint point on Onkaparinga Valley Road, Balhannah. The course then goes through historic Hahndorf (my favourite town in all of South Australia) before reaching Mylor where it will start a loop to finish the race that takes in the towns of Aldgate and Stirling.
Riders pass along the Mylor to Stirling section of the loop three times and the Stirling back to Mylor section twice, affording spectators a good opportunity to find a vantage spot and set up camp for the race’s conclusion.
This stage could have a huge bearing on the overall classification, with the sprinters unlikely to finish with what is expected to be a small peloton of stronger riders or possibly even a breakaway group. I expect Cadel Evans (BMC) or Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE) to be right in the mix for the stage win.
With the two King of the Mountain climbs coming early in the stage, I’d suggest trying to get along to one of these before heading somewhere on the loop route at the end of the stage to watch the finish.
And for the food and drink buffs, here are my recommendations around this stage:
Hahndorf Hill Winery, 38 Pains Road, Hahndorf
Specialising in wines that are not so well known in Australia, many with German heritage such as their Blaufrankish. Hahndorf Hill also do ChocoVino tastings where they pair their wines with some of the finest chocolate in the word – it’s a must do when in Hahndorf! The race does not pass by the Winery, but there is plenty of time before the race reaches Hahndorf at around 1:15pm to pay them a visit.
The German Arms Hotel, 69 Main Street, Hahndorf
Get there early to grab one of the tables out the front, as the race will go past their front door. Authentic German beer on tap and a full German menu and oompah music in the background; a great day is guaranteed.
The Organic Market & Café, Druid Avenue, Stirling
Directly off Mount Barker Road on the loop that closes out today’s stage, this place is packed full of quality organic Adelaide Hills produce. Stock up on supplies before finding yourself a spot to sit or stand and watch the race finish in beautiful Stirling.
Bikeexchange.com.au Stage 2 details
Start: 11:00 am – Prospect Road, Prospect (near the Town Hall)
Finish: 14:57 pm (approx) – Mount Barker Road, Stirling (right next to the Stirling Oval)
You can follow Jason Kohlmorgen on twitter – @jasonkohlmorgen