WILL THE HEAT AF­FECT THE RACE?

Sunday Mail - - SPORT -

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.

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