Santos Tour Down Under guide

You companion to the season-opener in Australia

Last Updated: 16/01/14 1:21pm

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The Santos Tour Down Under is held around Adelaide

The Santos Tour Down Under is held around Adelaide

Sky Bet

The 2014 UCI WorldTour gets under way with six days of sun-drenched racing at the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia (January 21-26).

The event is based around the south-coast city of Adelaide and offers cycling fans a first chance of the year to glimpse the peloton's new riders, teams and jerseys in action.

The race has traditionally been geared towards sprinters, but recent seasons have seen the introduction of several testing ascents and a rolling route for 2014 has attracted some high-pedigree climbers, all with designs on the winner's ochre jersey.

The race is preceded by the People's Choice Classic on Sunday, January 19, before the real racing starts two days later.

Stages

People's Choice Classic: Sunday, January 19 - 50km circuit race

Build-up to the main race begins with a 50km criterium taking place on a 2km circuit in central Adelaide. The pan-flat course is mostly made up of long, gentle curves, with the odd tight left-hander thrown in to test bike-handling skills. The race will be fast and furious and is almost guaranteed to finish in a sprint.

- Highlights on Sky Sports 2 from 1pm-2pm. Repeated at 7pm on Sky Sports 3 and at 10pm on Sky Sports 2.

Stage 1: Tuesday, January 21 - Nuriootpa to Angaston - 135km

The opening stage of the race takes place just north-east of Adelaide and navigates one and a half laps of a rolling circuit starting in Nuriootpa. However, midway through the second lap, the course takes a sharp right turn to send the riders up the steep ascent of Mengler Hill, before dropping back down to the finish line in Agaston. The climb summits 12km from home and is almost guaranteed to invite attacks, but any escapees will struggle to stay clear and a sprint is likely.

- Live coverage on Sky Sports 1 from 2am-4am. Repeated at 8am on Sky Sports 3, 12pm on Sky Sports 2 and 3pm on Sky Sports 2. Highlights on Sky Sports 3 at 7pm and 10.30pm.

Stage 2: Wednesday, January 22 - Prospect to Stirling - 150km

Stage 2 takes the riders on another rolling route that follows a ring road-shaped course around Adelaide. The day ends with two and a half laps of a short circuit starting in Mylor and ending in Stirling. The road climbs steadily upwards between the two towns and it is on the second or third ascents where attacks are likely. After the climb, there is a 3km flat dash to the finish line, meaning any attackers will have another tough task to fend off the sprinters.

- Live coverage on Sky Sports 1 from 2.30am-4.30am. Repeated at 8am on Sky Sports 3 and 12pm and 3pm on Sky Sports 2. Highlights on Sky Sports 3 at 7pm and 11pm.

Stage 3: Thursday, January 23 - Norwood to Campbelltown - 145km

Another rolling day and another stage that will be decided by a concluding climb just a short distance from the finish. This time, the peloton will have to tackle the sharp ascent to Montacute, which tops out 7.4km from home. Attacks on the climb will be aggressive and plentiful, and if a big enough group goes clear and works together well on the descent to the finish line, they could have a chance of hanging on, although the odds will be stacked against them.

- Live coverage on Sky Sports 1 from 2.30am-4.30am. Repeated at 8am on Sky Sports 3 and 12pm on Sky Sports 2. Highlights on Sky Sports 3 at 7pm and 11.30pm.

Stage 4: Friday, January 24 - Unley to Victor Harbor - 148.5km

It is safe to say that on stage four a bunch sprint is more or less guaranteed. The route, which starts in central Adelaide and finishes by the coast at Victor Harbor, is once again rolling, but this time the run home is mostly flat. There is a short rise in the road just before the finish line, but it is unlikely to derail the sprint trains and the likes of Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel will be keen not to miss this opportunity.

- Live coverage on Sky Sports 1 from 2.30am-4.30am. Repeated at 8am on Sky Sports 3 and 12pm on Sky Sports 2. Highlights on Sky Sports 3 at 6pm and 11.30pm.

Stage 5: Saturday, January 25 - McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill - 151.5km

The fifth day will have a big say on the overall winner of the race, with the first man to the summit finish on Willunga Hill putting himself in pole position to claim the ochre jersey. The course is made up of two circuits, with the riders being taken on three laps of a largely flat opening circuit, before negotiating two laps of a hilly concluding circuit each containing an ascent of Willunga Hill. Those with fresh legs may choose to attack on the first ascent, but it is second time around where the decisive moves are likely to be made. Anyone with seconds in hand from previous stages will need to be placed well towards the front to defend their advantage.

- Live coverage on Sky Sports 1 from 12.30am-4.30am. Repeated on Sky Sports 3 at 8am and 12pm. Highlights on Sky Sports 3 at 5.30pm and 11.30pm.

Stage 6: Sunday, January 26 - Adelaide to Adelaide - 85.5km

The race's concluding day is left to the sprinters to battle it out over 18 laps of a 4.75km circuit in Adelaide city centre. The circuit is virtually pan flat, but a series of tight turns will spice things up. Expect a fast and furious finale to the race. Time bonuses could also come into play here, with the overall winner in the past being decided by just a handful of seconds.

- Live coverage on Sky Sports 1 from 1.30am-4.30am. Repeated on at 8am Sky Sports 3, 12pm on Sky Sports 2 and 2.30pm om Sky Sports 4. Highlights at 6.30pm on Sky Sports 3 and 10pm on Sky Sports 2.

The favourites

With hills being a prominent feature of the 2014 parcours, the favourites for this year's race appear to be the men who like going uphill. Richie Porteand Cadel Evans will be riding on home roads and the hilly route suits their styles, while Javier Moreno finished second overall last year and is likely to be a threat once again. Of the non-pure climbers, Simon Gerrans is a former winner of the race and victory in the Australian national road championship last weekend showed he has good form.

Brit watch

Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)
Luke Rowe (Team Sky)
Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky, pictured right)

Key stage

Stage five. The climb to Willunga Hill will create splits in the general classification and could well decide who takes overall victory.

The jerseys

- Ochre: General classification.
- Green polka dots: King of the mountains.
- White and pink: Best young rider.
- Green: Most competitive rider.
- Red: Team classification.

Time bonuses

- 10, 6 and 4 bonus seconds will be awarded to the first three finishers on each stage.
- 3, 2 and 1 bonus second will be awarded to the first three riders over the line at intermediate sprints.

Teams and riders

Ag2r-La Mondiale: Julien Berard (Fra), Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra), Maxime Bouet (Fra), Maxime Daniel (Fra), Axel Domont (Fra), Damien Gaudin (Fra), Sebastien Turgot (Fra).

Astana: Lieuwe Westra (Ned), Enrico Gasparotto (Ita), Valerio Agnoli (Ita), Francesco Gavazzi (Ita), Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita), Evan Huffman (USA).

Belkin: Robert Gesink (Ned), Graeme Brown (Aus), Bram Tankink (Ned), Stef Clement (Ned), Jack Bobridge (Aus), David Tanner (Aus), Rick Flens (Ned).

Cadel Evans last raced the Tour Down Under in 2010

BMC: Cadel Evans (Aus), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Ben Hermans (Bel), Amael Moinard (Fra), Steve Morabito (Swi), Danilo Wyss (Swi), Rick Zabel (Ger).

Cannondale: Elia Viviani (Ita), Cameron Wurf (Aus), George Bennett (NZ), Guillaume Boivin (Can), Matthias Krizek (Aut), Matej Mohoric (Slo), Alberto Bettiol (Ita).

Drapac: Jonathan Cantwell (Aus), William Clarke (Aus), Darren Lapthorne (Aus), Robbie Hucker (Aus), Travis Meyer (Aus), Wesley Sulzberger (Aus), Bernard Sulzberger (Aus).

Europcar: Perrig Quemeneur (Fra), Kevin Reza (Fra), Jerome Cousin (Fra), Angelo Tulik (Fra), Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn), Bjorn Thurau (Ger).

FDJ: Arnaud Courteille (Fra), Geoffrey Soupe (Fra), Jussi Veikkanen (Fin), William Bonnet (Fra), Anthony Roux (Fra), Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra), Kenny Elissonde (Fra).

Garmin-Sharp: Rohan Dennis (Aus), Jack Bauer (NZ), Thomas Dekker (Ned), Nathan Haas (Aus), Lachlan Morton (Aus), Steele von Hoff (Aus), Caleb Fairly (USA).

Marcel Kittel will be targeting sprint wins

Giant-Shimano: Niklas Arndt (Ger), Johannes Frohlinger (Ger), Simon Geschke (Ger), Thierry Hupond (Fra), Marcel Kittel (Ger), Koen de Kort (Ned), Tom Peterson (USA).

Katusha: Egor Silin (Rus), Maxim Belkov (Rus), Marco Haller (Aut), Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus), Alexandr Porsev (Rus), Eduard Vorganov (Rus), Pavel Kochetkov (Rus).

Lampre-Merida: Diego Ulissi (Ita), Luca Wackermann (Ita), Manuele Mori (Ita), Matteo Bono (Ita), Davide Cimolai (Ita), Roberto Ferrari (Ita), Rafael Valls (Spa).

Lotto-Belisol: Andre Greipel (Ger), Adam Hansen (Aus), Jens Debusschere (Bel), Olivier Kaisen (Bel), Jurgen Roelandts (Bel), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Stig Broeckx (Bel).

Movistar: Javier Moreno (Spa), Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa), Imanol Erviti (Spa), Ruben Plaza (Spa), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa), Giovanni Visconti (Ita), Juan Jose Lobato (Spa).

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step: Julian Alaphilippe (Fra), Jan Bakelants (Bel), Andrew Fenn (GB), Serge Pauwels (Bel), Mark Renshaw (Aus), Matteo Trentin (Ita), Carlos Verona (Spa).

Simon Gerrans won the Australian national title last weekend

Orica-GreenEdge: Daryl Impey (RSA), Luke Durbridge (Aus), Matthew Goss (Aus), Mathew Hayman (Aus), Michael Matthews (Aus), Simon Clarke (Aus), Simon Gerrans (Aus).

Team Sky: Richie Porte (Aus), Chris Sutton (Aus), Geraint Thomas (GB), Philip Deignan (Ire), Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Luke Rowe (GB), Ian Stannard (GB).

Tinkoff-Saxo: Rory Sutherland (Aus), Nikolay Trusov (Rus), Jay McCarthy (Aus), Christopher Juul-Jenson (Den), Michael Andersen (Den), Michael Kolar (Svk), Nicki Sorensen (Den).

Trek: Calvin Watson (Aus), Frank Schleck (Lux), Jens Voigt (Ger), Fabio Felline (Ita), Danny van Poppel (Ned), Boy van Poppel (Ned), Laurent Didier (Lux).

UniSA-Australia: Caleb Ewan (Aus), Campbell Flakemore (Aus), Jack Haig (Aus), Bradley Linfield (Aus), Mark O'Brien (Aus), Anthony Giacoppo (Aus), Neil van der Ploeg (Aus).

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