The Tour Down Under returns to the streets of Norwood, with the start of the Thomas Foods Stage 3 on the Parade sure to draw a big crowd.
The riders will cover 145 kilometres, travelling through the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills before heading back into the metropolitan area for the finish.
There will be some familiarity in the early parts of the stage as riders visit some of the towns they rode through today, including Kersbrook, which will host the Adam Internet sprint point on Scott Street after 38.7 kilometres.
Williamstown is the next big town ahead, and when they reach Mt Crawford Road the second Adam Internet sprint point awaits the peloton after 53.5 kilometres of the stage having passed.
After leaving Williamstown, the riders have a fairly easy ride up through Springton and Mount Pleasant, with the terrain reasonably flat, though once they hit Mount Torrens they do have a couple of little climbs.
The easy day will end with about 10 kilometres to go as the infamous Corkscrew awaits the peloton. Having tackled this climb last year, I can assure you it’s not a lot of fun, it’s quite a long, hard drag just to get to the start of the climb and then it’s over 2 kilometres of climbing at an average gradient over 9%.
This is sure to split the peloton up a bit, and with the climb being classified as a Category 1, there are plenty of King of the Mountain points on offer – 16 points for the winner and points awarded all the way down to 6th place. With Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) and William Clarke (Drapac) tied for the lead in the King of the Mountains Classification, expect to see moves from both riders on the Corkscrew.
Once they reach the summit of the Corkscrew it’s a very fast 7.4 kilometres to the finish in Campbelltown. There were a number of crashes on this descent last year as riders take risks to try and bridge any gaps created on the climb, and you can expect more of the same this year.
For those heading out to watch the race, the Corkscrew is sure to provide fantastic viewing. Last year it felt like being on one of the big mountains in the Tour de France (except for extreme heat!) and the atmosphere should be similar again here.
There is only one small loop on the course, with Inglewood seeing the riders twice, so that is another good option, while the finish in Campbelltown will be one of the less crowded finishes as most racegoers are still up on the Corkscrew.
Picking a winner of the stage isn’t easy, but it certainly won’t be a pure sprinter. Whoever wins will need to be able to climb well and still sprint to the line, so I’d be looking to one of the previous two stage winners of this year’s Tour – race leader Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE) or winner of Stage 2 Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).
For those looking for somewhere to go for a bite to eat or something to drink, here are my recommendations:
Inglewood Inn, 1931 North East Road, Inglewood
The place was all done up today as we went through, there is plenty of car parking and the riders go past twice tomorrow, right around lunchtime, so there is no better place to grab something to eat!
The Corner Shop Bakery, 3 Queen Street, Williamstown
I popped in here last year for something to eat and the choices were many. I ended up with a pie and it’s one of my fond food memories of the 2013 Tour! Located on a nice corner on the stage route too, so you can grab yourself something to eat and cheer on the riders as the fly past.
Fudge It, 145 Montacute Road, Newton
Located just 200 metres past the finish line in Campbelltown, as the name suggests they make fudge, and quality fudge at that – try the Rocky Road! If you’re heading to the finish, head in, grab some fudge, pack it in your panniers and stake a spot by the finish line.
Thomas Foods Stage 3 details
Start: 11:00 am – The Parade, Norwood (opposite the Town Hall)
Finish: 2:45pm (approx.) – Montacute Road, Campbelltown (opposite the Council offices)
You can follow Jason Kohlmorgen on twitter – @jasonkohlmorgen