Tour Down Under Stage 5 guide

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    Cadel Evans during the 2013 Giro d'Italia. (AP Photo/ Gian Mattia d'Alberto)

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    Stage 5 is likely to have a huge say in who takes overall honours in this year’s Tour Down Under.

    This stage is also one of the best viewing stages, with a loop layout offering the opportunity to see the riders more than once and the spectacular stretch along the coast providing a stunning back drop to the race.

    The race starts in McLaren Vale and travels along Main Road (Main Road will see the riders pass five times), before turning towards the coast at Willunga, travelling along the coast through Aldinga Beach and Snapper Point – where the sprint points will be contested on laps two and three (this part of the course is ridden three times), before winding it’s way back to McLaren Vale.

    When the race reaches McLaren Vale after the third lap, the riders will head to Willunga again, but instead of turning towards the coast, this time they’ll turn left and contest the first King of the Mountain up Willunga Hill, a category one climb that is three kilometres long with an average gradient of 7.5%.

    After reaching the summit of Willunga Hill, the riders head through McLaren Flat on the way back to McLaren Vale and then they get to climb Willunga Hill yet again.

    The top of Willunga Hill doubles as both the race finish and the second King of the Mountain point.

    Finding a spot to watch the race is pretty easy on this stage, with the stretch between McLaren Vale and Willunga one of the most frequented spots with five chances to catch the action, the area around Snapper Point always popular as the riders follow the coastline and the finish atop Willunga Hill also always packed with people waiting to see the thrilling conclusion to the stage.

    Finally, my food and drink recommendations for this stage:

    Blessed Cheese, 150 Main Road, McLaren Vale
    A quirky combination of cheese shop, licensed café and providore but it works and it’s well worth getting in early for breakfast. The riders will pass three times, so why not grab some supplies and set up camp for the day.

    The Peloton Picnic, Old Courthouse Grounds, Willunga
    Set up especially for the Tour, there are food and drink stalls, children’s activities, live music and a big screen to watch the race.

    The Alma Hotel, Hill Street, Willunga
    The riders pass by five times and there is a feed zone right nearby, so they’ll be going slower than normal. Good food, cold beers on tap and lycra friendly, a great place to watch the race from.

    Stage five details
    Start: 11:10 am – Main Road, McLaren Vale (near Tatachilla Road)
    Finish: 3:02pm (approx.) – Old Willunga Hill Road, Willunga Hill

    You can follow Jason Kohlmorgen on Twitter – @jasonkohlmorgen