WILL THE HEAT AFFECT THE RACE?
With a heatwave set to sweep the stage for the first few days of the race, it’s more difficult to shorten the stages when there is no circuit finish like we’ve had in Lyndoch in previous years.
There are, however, contingency plans in place and teams will meet this weekend with the peloton’s rider representative and race officials to form a common-sense approach.
Naturally, the heat should favour the Aussie riders who have been training here for months, but last year was a scorcher for the stage to Uraidla and it didn’t stop Slovakian Peter Sagan from putting everyone else to the sword.
One bloke who won’t mind the heat is defending champion Daryl Impey, who spends his off-season in South Africa. Get your spot on the finish line early to see who takes the first win of the international season. Last year it was Peter Sagan, the year before Caleb Ewan.
The race has a new afternoon timeslot this year due to live TV, so if you can’t make it to the track catch it on the box. The bunch sprint on Bartels Road is a beauty. The Port hosted a stage start last year and this year has been rewarded with a stage finish after the bunch travels 132.4km from North Adelaide to Paracombe and back.
Expect another bunch sprint where Ewan, Sagan and Viviani will be lining up to take the ochre jersey on the opening day. The race finishes in Uraidla for the second year in a row, but this time spectators are treated to seven laps of a circuit around Carey Gully, Summertown and Piccadilly.
The stage is tailor-made for a breakaway to stay away if the bunch leaves its run too late, but the undulating run The most explosive climb of the race, famously conquered by two Tour de France winners in Cadel Evans and Geraint Thomas, it will leave its mark on the GC chase again this year.
The 3.5km climb is 6km before the finish, meaning whoever is first over the top will have a frightening descent to the line in Campbelltown. If you’re tossing up between lining the climb or getting to the finish, I’d be finding a good spot on Corkscrew Rd. The most famous climb on the tour that has been moved to the final day, thousands of fans will line the road up Willunga Hill to see whether Richie Porte can make it six stage wins in a row.
But the race within the race is the battle for the ochre jersey. Porte was first over the line last year, but narrowly missed the overall title as Daryl Impey managed to hang on for second with a tremendously determined ride. Expect plenty of fireworks again.