Tour Down Under 2013 route unveiled
You might be forgiven for missing the press release from the Tour Down Under regarding the 2013 route, given there’s that ‘other race’ presently on over in France.
However, once all the excitement of another European race season is over fans will very quickly be looking towards the start of 2013 and the return of racing, which for the Pro Tour will begin with the Tour Down Under.
Moving into its 15th year, the Tour Down Under (TDU) is certainly now a big race. Teams are unveiled for the year with all the announcements around new sponsors, kit, bikes and early theories on who could look to improve on previous years, who might struggle and who could become a break out success.
Going back over the history of the race, it has consistently shown that the stars of now have actually shown signs of what was to come at the Tour Down Under. Name like Contador and Sagan spring to mind immediately.
There’s also the matter of the race carrying the UCI points equivalent as a Monument. Which means that it’s not a race the Pro teams are keen to dismiss, as they can become very valuable points come the end of the year.
The route for 2013 has a couple of changes from this year’s addition, with the most noticeable being stage two.
At 116km in length, it will not only be the shortest in the race’s history and the second only metropolitan stage finish (in Rostrevor), the stage will also have a Skoda King of the Mountain climb up the fabled Adelaide ‘Corkscrew’ climb. Which at 2.5km in length and with an average of just under 9%, will be as gruelling as any short climb riders would face in Europe.
Stage 4 will see a ‘grass start’, with no more details known than it is also a race first – possibly a world first. The hilltop finish at Old Willunga Hill remains for stage 5, with the finale again being around a street circuit the following day.
Adelaide is a fantastic city with excellent terrain to put on a great race. My only criticism is that instead of going for something like a ‘grass start’ as something different, why not include a time trail? Make it a prologue, something short.
It would have the flexibility of being able to be run either within the city or in surrounding towns. This allows spectators to see the riders a lot more (which after going months without racing is what the fans are crying out for) and does more to cater for the “all rounders” than I feel the 2013 route is proclaimed to offer.
The concern was and still is about time trial bikes. Shipping them to and from Australia, along with everything else a professional team needs to bring, is a costly expense – and certainly a fair consideration for Turtur to make.
Alternatives do exist. The TT could be done with mass start road race equipment (barring clip on TT bars) only. The same format was used at this year’s Tour of Langkawi, which is the biggest stage race in Asia.
Otherwise, with the Sun Tour looking like relocating to a date in January, some collaboration between the two organising committees could be made and a time trial organised in both events – making it more cost effective for teams to bring the additional bikes out.
All food for thought for the future, as it means what is already an exciting race both nationally and internationally has the potential to become even more so.
If you have never been to an edition of the Tour Down Under I can also highly recommend it, Adelaide has some fantastic riding and bakeries to match. The Tour Down Under runs from the 22nd to 27th of January 2013, with the People’s Choice Classic on the Sunday the 20th. More information.
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