Guide to the six stages of the 2016 Tour Down Under, the opening race of the UCI WorldTour (January 19-24)
The race is almost entirely based around Adelaide, South Australia, and its environs, and comprises six stages from Tuesday, January 19, to Sunday, January 24.
There are few opportunities for the pure sprinters in the 2016 edition of the race, with the opening two stages both featuring relatively steep climbs early on followed by hilly finishing circuits.
Stages three and four both featured notable climbs within their final 20km – Corkscrew Hill and Crows Nest Road respectively. Both could favour late attacks to spoil the sprinters’ party.
Willunga Hill returns once more on stage five, looming in the final 30km where it is tackled twice.
The race concludes in Adelaide on Sunday, January 24, with a short 90km circuit-based finale.
The TdU is preceded by the 51km People’s Choice Classic single-day race on Sunday, January 17, to warm the riders’ legs up before the main event.
Rohan Dennis (BMC) won the 2015 edition of the race.
Tour Down Under 2016: Stages
Stage one, Prospect to Lyndoch, 130.8km
Tuesday, January 19
The opening stage of the 2016 Tour Down Under throws riders straight into the action, with the race’s first categorised climb of North East Road peaking at around 12km into the day. The peloton then heads north towards Lyndoch and three laps of a hilly circuit.
Stage two, Unley to Stirling, 132km
Wednesday, January 20
After the start in Unley, the riders head south-east and into the hills for five undulating laps before the day’s conclusion in Stirling.
Stage three, Glenelg to Campbelltown, 139km
Thursday, January 21
The relatively straightforward third stage has a sting in its tail: the climb and descent of Corkscrew Road. It could provide the ideal launchpad for a late attack.
Stage four, Norwood to Victor Harbour, 138km
Friday, January 22
This testing stage is one of two halves: after an ascent from the start in Adelaide, the opening section is then largely downhill before hitting a flatter run-in to the testing climb of Crows Nest Road. A daring attack over the top and maintained on the subsequent descent could net the stage win.
Stage five, McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 151.5km
Saturday, January 23
The traditional penultimate stage showdown once again features two ascents of the decisive Willunga Hill. This is the stage that has previously shaped the final top 10.
Stage six, King William Road (Adelaide) to King William Road (Adelaide), 90km
Sunday, January 24
The final stage of the 2016 Tour Down Under comprises 20 laps of a 4.5km circuit, and is roundly expected to finish in a bunch sprint after a short and frantic finale.