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Tour Down Under Preview

The Tour Down Under begins on Tuesday. Here’s a preview so I know what time to set my alarm we can all see the stages this week and assess the likely contenders.

Stage 1 – Tuesday 16 January
The Tour Down Under tours Tanunda. A tongue-twister to say, easier to understand. This is a near copycat of last year’s opening stage, one less ascent of Menglers Hill and 5km shorter. Last year’s race ended in a sprint finish and Phil Bauhaus won with stil. Expect another sprint.

  • Forecast finish: 2.50pm / 05.20am CET / 04.20am GMT / D-1 11.20pm EST

Stage 2 – Wednesday 17 January
The Tour Down Under is an ambitious label because it’s not a tour of Australia, it’s not even the Tour of South Australia (one of Australia’s six states). It’s just a tour of the Adelaide hills and vineyards. And that’s fine, but it does mean plenty of familiar roads as the race criss-crosses a small patch. Still they can find “new” roads and after an uphill start to Norton and onto Ashton, the next set-piece moment is Fox Creek Road. This is a sharp climb, listed as 2.6km at 6.2% which is entry-level selective, it’s got 1.5km at over 8% making it a good place to drop the sprinters and more. Note the climb features twice on the profile above as a categorised climb and it is then tackled a third time with just 8km to go. At the very least this is going to see the pure sprinters ejected and dejected but it could be an early GC stage given the next day allows for recovery.

  • Forecast finish: 2.50pm / 05.20am CET / 04.20am GMT / D-1 11.20pm EST

Stage 3 – Thursday 18 January
A second uphill sprint but a likely sprint finish. There’s the descent through Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Creek, the usual hectic approach to the left turn for Corksrew Road but not this time as the race continues down with some more bends to take at speed before a finish in Campbelltown. Without the Corkscrew the descent will be still be nervous because of the self-reinforcing need for riders to be at the front in order to avoid trouble meaning more risks to get and stay at the front.

  • Forecast finish: 2.50pm / 05.20am CET / 04.20am GMT / D-1 11.20pm EST

Stage 4 – Friday 19 January
A likely sprint finish but Gemmell Hill is harder than it looks and if you like your metaphors, there’s an abattoir by the road so we’ll see if it makes mincemeat of any sprinters. As ever at the TDU the proximity to the coast means everyone will be double-checking the weather on the day in case the wind gets up.

  • Forecast finish: 2.50pm / 05.20am CET / 04.20am GMT / D-1 11.20pm EST

Stage 5 – Saturday 20 January
The classic Willunga stage, laps of the vineyards before climbing Old Willunga hill twice, once to roll through the finish line, the second time as the summit finish. Willunga Hill is the key, it’s 3km at an average if 7.5%, a steady gradient and a wide road most of the way and exposed if there’s any wind. It’s a tactical climb, being on the right wheel matters as the speed is so high, the idea is to ride the slipstream of your rival and then strike out as late as possible, but before everyone else.

  • Forecast finish: 2.30pm / 05.00am CET / 04.00am GMT / D-1 11.00pm EST

Stage 6 – Sunday 21 January

Mount Lofty to decide things. This climb was introduced on the final stage last year where it featured five times, here it’s used three times and so there’s less climbing but still 2,300m of vertical gain. Mount Lofty isn’t that mountainous nor lofty, it rises for about 1.5km, then levels out and dips briefly before kicking up to the line again, on average it’s 2km at 7% and all on a wide road.

  • Forecast finish: 2.30pm / 05.00am CET / 04.00am GMT / D-1 11.00pm EST

Further notes

  • No prologue but two summit finishes
  • Fox Creek Road is selective, it could be a surprise
  • The finish times used to vary, now the weekday stages all have the same time, then the weekend stages finish earlier
  • The race uses a hub and spoke system for the stages with the riders and entourage staying in the same hotel all week in Adelaide and then racing in different places outside. Riders wanting more training can sometimes ride back to the hotel after a stage
  • With the downtown criterium done there’s no racing in Adelaide itself this year
  • Santos? The sponsor is one of Australia’s largest oil and gas companies (h/t brent) , it began as South Australia Northern Territory Oil Search in Adelaide and has grown into a big supplier in Australia and Asia
  • There’s a chance of thunderstorms on the opening day, after this it’ll be warm and sunny
  • Time bonuses often define the final result, 3-2-1 seconds at the intermediate points, 10-6-4 seconds on the finish line
  • UCI points are 500 for the winner. 60 points for a stage win, full breakdown here.

The Contenders
Embed from Getty Images
A long list so scroll to the chainrings if you’re in a hurry…

Lyndon B. Johnson said “the first rule of politics is to learn how to count”, and while he meant votes he’d have a point about the TDU too. This is a race that’s often very close and where time bonuses and even countback can pick the winner. Ask Richie Porte who won the Willunga summit finish six times but took the overall twice. A good performance on Willunga is necessary but not sufficient, as mathematicians and others can say. This year’s race features two summit finishes so twice the chance to distance the sprinters and others who might rack up time bonuses before the weekend.

The archetypal winner can sprint for time bonuses and thrives on short climbs. So on paper Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep) is the perfect rider. Only form is unknown, his big goal is Flanders and the Giro and so he’s likely to be easing into the season and a few pedal strokes behind those who have enjoyed the full Aussie summer. Still he’s the team’s best option as they come without a sprinter and even at 90% he’s a competitor.

Jayco want a home result, and could get one with a stage win for Caleb Ewan. Simon Yates was second overall last time and absent 2023’s winner Jay Vine he’s an obvious pick, an excellent climber with good race craft and a very strong team behind him. Luke Plapp is the form pick because of his double Australian championship wins this month but now positioning and attacking count, there’s more to master. The team might have a third option in Chris Harper who surprised on the upside in the Australian championships and has been rustling KOMs in the Adelaide Hills today but he’s the loyal helper to a tee so might use his excellent form in service. They’re the team to beat.

UAE have a strong team but again form is unknown, Diego Ulissi is suited and has done well here before but a win is a big ask, especially after a recent family trauma. Isaac del Toro will be worth watching already.

Ineos have Jhonathan Narvaez who can climb and sprint well, maybe Leo Hayter in this role too. With Josh Tarling and Filippo Ganna there’s plenty of support.

DSM Firmenich-PostNL have Paddy Bevin who could be made for this race as he can sprint well and manage short climbs but is an infrequent winner at best and maybe better suited to guiding climber Oscar Onley to a good finish, the Scot is a promising rider suited to these climbs.

Milan Vader (Visma-Lease A Bike) can finish where he left off, winning the Tour of Guangxi at the end of last season but that was built on one summit finish, here he’ll have it harder piecing together a win via stage bonuses and marking the right riders on Willunga and Lofty. He’ll be helped by Johannes Staune-Mittet.

Jack Haig leads Bahrain but how to win? He’s a strong rider with a big engine but will surely have to win sprints and stages outright when he’s more suited to some longer, higher climbs. He’ll need the Lofty stage to turn into a slog.

Corbin Strong (IPT) started out as a track rider but his light build means he’s adept at sprints on hilly courses and being from New Zealand means he’s more likely to be on summer form. His challenge is going to be hanging with the climbers on Willunga and Lofty, it’s a big ask. The opposite for George Bennett, a top climber but the route to victory is typically via a stage win and the time bonuses. Stephen Williams can do a both.

Movistar’s Ruben Guerreiro climbs well. There’s an Australian team with Michael Storer and Damian Howson, Storer is a great climber but often wins from afar rather than sniping sprint wins while Howson is good at targetting a race and achieving a high GC finish but diesel-style. Alpecin-Deceuninck are very much a sprinter’s team but Jason Osborne and Luca Vergallito are worth watching because of their raw abilities, the challenge for them is to manage positioning going into a climb. Astana bring four strong Italians each due a decent win this year – and the team needs it – but more likely in March or April than mid-January.

Simon Yates
Plapp, Vader, Narvaez, Onley
Harper, Haig, Fisher-Black, Williams, Guerreiro, Alaphilippe

TV: it’s live on Seven for Australians (free streaming, email sign up required) and VPN users looking for English coverage. Eurosport will also English and various European languages, and for French readers, it’s on L’Equipe TV too.

For those in Europe thinking of setting the alarm, it’s both a strength and a weakness of the TDU that it’s a rather predictable race. While the trend in recent years has seen riders take a flyer from far out to win many a race, the TDU is typically won by sniping stages. This doesn’t make it easy to win but it does mean TV viewers can often sit down with 15km to go and get 90% of the action.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • brent Monday, 15 January 2024, 9:23 pm

    Obviously this is not the tdf with most teams not sending the ultimate number one team like they do appartently to every race in western europe. Its not in western Europe so many feel the race should not exist at all but for all the faults I do like the format for a shorter stage race. By mixing up the stages with just enough hills it gives the chance for an overall victory to someone with a sprint who can climb just enough, a climber who can sprint a bit or even a more diesel climber. The list of winners in the last 10 years is quite diverse and not many races can match the diversity of types. Vine, Porte, Gerrans, Impey, Dennis. Even the sprint stages have something to interrupt the proceedings so the sprinters have to ride strong to get to the finish.

    From memory last years race was a bit atypical with some further attacks than normal.

    Minor correction. I doubt that santos is the biggest australian oil and gas company by a large margin (woodside would be biggest). Santos would however be the biggest one essentially based in south Australia. In fact probably the biggest south australian company of any type as South australia is a bit of a Coporate backwater.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 January 2024, 9:58 pm

      I enjoy the race, it’s literally the only event I’ll get out of bed for… and to back to bed after ;-). The close format helps keep it open, I think it works as a season opener this way.

    • Somers Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 1:29 am

      It might also be the last ‘Santos’ Tour Down Under as Woodside and Santos are looking at merging

    • Larry T Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 9:04 am

      “Its not in western Europe so many feel the race should not exist at all” Who says that?
      While I’m an old curmudgeon who thinks the real racing season only begins with MSR, I have no issues with TdU unless someone starts going on about the UCI points or how the winner’s gonna wipe-the-floor with everyone come June-July-August.
      No chrono stage this time? I don’t pay enough attention to TdU to know for sure but I thought they usually had one, one where the riders would use the same bike they used for the rest of the stages, which backed my claim chrono bikes are useless since the same guy wins when they don’t use ’em,

      • 150 Watts Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 9:17 am

        They did that with a prologue once and it kind of worked as a way of creating some time differences. Problem was that it rained and the course was very slippery in places.
        Adelaide is the driest city in Australia but whenever they have a Formula 1 race or a cycling prologue it rains.

  • BC Monday, 15 January 2024, 9:25 pm

    Thanks INRNG and Happy New Year.
    All finishes too early for me here in the UK. I must admit this is another race that fails to ignite any of my enthusiasm.
    Those who do watch enjoy.

  • Dawnstar Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 12:42 am

    Good luck to you & anyone else on GMT or CET time who are planning to watch it live. I’m very happy to go for the catch up option rather than be up half the night. One night I might have managed but certainly not 6 in a row!

  • Martijn Doekes Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 12:47 am

    How would that work for world tour points for the “australian” team? Will the riders still keep their points for their original team?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 4:50 am

      Yes, points to the riders themselves and the team they are contracted with for the season.

  • Cinzano Truck Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 1:38 am

    “The Tour Down Under is an ambitious label because it’s not a tour of Australia, it’s not even the Tour of South Australia (one of Australia’s six states). It’s just a tour of the Adelaide hills and vineyards. And that’s fine”
    Considering the South Australian government funds the race for pure tourism purposes it’s no surprise they only really highlight the touristy areas and don’t venture in to other states (i.e. competition for tourist dollars) and South Australia is quite ‘Down Under’ so the title is not inaccurate 😉
    Also something I just looked up, SA is the size of France and Germany combined so probably a bit of a stretch to get to cover a lot of the area in the span of a week. You can use this fact in next years write up if you like 🙂
    Looking forward to everything the site produces in 2024. Many thanks.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 5:01 am

      All fair points, but still surprised the race doesn’t range further with SA, there must be politicians in other parts who might like the race to visit “their” place. That said Adelaide has some of the best terrain, always a hill within reach.

      • 150 Watts Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 5:24 am

        A Tour of South Australia would be a camel 🐫 race.

      • Cinzano Truck Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 12:01 pm

        Over the years, one thing you hear repeatedly from the men’s peloton about TDU is about how chill it is outside of the racing. All the men’s teams stay at the same hotel every year, the Hilton, right in the middle of Adelaide and each stage start is only a short transfer from there so there’s no need for buses and all that entails. It might be different now because riders are generally in better race shape for all races but you would get some riders riding back to the hotel after a stage to get in more Winter (during Summer) training kilometres.
        I think there would be a bit of resistance from organisers and participants if one of the things that is fairly unique to TDU was to change.
        But rightly so, it should be called The Tour of Adelaide and surrounding areas 😀

      • DaveRides Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 4:39 am

        The race is owned by the South Australian state government.

        If any stages go outside of the Adelaide area, it will be to other areas within SA rather than to other states. This year’s edition does have Stage 4 being contested completely on the other side of the Adelaide Hills.

        Politicians in other states are free to start up their own races – or restart ones they used to have and let die off in recent years like the Herald Sun Tour (didn’t come back after Covid) or Goulburn-Sydney one day race.

  • 150 Watts Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 2:01 am

    The worst aspect of this race is the washed out, low definition vision from channel 7. I am sure that watching this is bad for my eyes.
    Seems odd that Ineos brought both Ganna and Tarling but we will see what they do with them … recently stumbled on the fast that Ganna has a famous namesake.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 4:57 am

      I’ve tried the HD option on Seven and you’re right, the picture isn’t great and while they have bills to pay, a lot of ads too. By contrast both Eurosport and L’Equipe have a sharper picture, L’Equipe with 1080… and it’s ahead of Eurosport too, but just one lone commentator.

      • brent Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 8:55 am

        Despite living in the country there is no way i would watch this race on channel 7. Ironically virtually the only race in my time zone but i won’t watch it. Highlights from another channel on youtube will be my catch up.
        On past form channel 7 treats sports like this as an attempt to cross promote their normal programming and the commentators will generally understand they need to overhype the “action” and totally overhype the Australian riders. There will be no understanding in the channel that cycling spectators will follow their fav riders and don’t care much for the nationality. This in addition to meeting the max allowable number of minutes per hour of adds. You will be happy to note that these adds are in addition to some adds for there normal channel and any promotions for products they can stuff into the commentary.
        There is a reason i was so unhappy that GCN folded and there is no actual replacement in Australia so YouTube is the only way of catching up on my races now.

        • Larry T Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 9:11 am

          Sounds like TV in the USA from back-in-the-day…or maybe not so long ago? But at least in the ancient Greg LeMond era the CBS production values were excellent and Shill Phigett’s bits were just a small part. Those shows really got me interested in pro bike racing! Maybe my favorite all-time bit is this one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1VbX34tq1o

    • Coppi1949 Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 5:57 pm

      Think I read somewhere that Ganna and viviani are doing some track racing in Australia after the tdu to help their Olympic ambitions hence them heading out to the tdu in the first place.

      • DaveRides Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 3:51 am

        Yes, the UCI Track Nations Cup is on at the Adelaide Superdrome (home track of Australia’s national team program, also the venue where Dr Bridie O’Donnell set the women’s Hour Record) in two weeks time.

        Those guys will probably head over to Melbourne/Geelong for a few days to do the Cadel Evans Race before focusing on the track.

      • Rod Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 10:17 am

        Yes, I think it might have been Josh Tarling’s interview on the GCN website.

  • Erik Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 3:18 am

    Streaming on Peacock in the United States.

  • Steve Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 9:56 am

    I always get excited for the TDU even though my UK location means I’ve never watched it “live on TV”. For me it’s the start of a whole new year of pro racing and a first chance to get a hold on who now rides for whom and the new kits. For decades I had family living in Christie’s Beach so the area also has personal connections. Great to see you grant Oscar Onley two chainrings: he’s a rider I have my eye on for the coming years.

  • Tovarishch Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 10:24 am

    Ineos all in for Narvaez and working for him to pick up bonus points. So perhaps 2.5 chainrings now!

  • Michael B Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 2:05 pm

    Is the TdU actually on Eurosport in the UK? I couldn’t see it anywhere so I visited the TdU Youtube channel and stuck their short highlights show on.

    They seem to work on the bizarre assumption that if you’re watching their race highlights you already know who has won – as the commentator tells you who is going to win about 150m from the line. Daft.

    • Andrew Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 4:20 pm

      Yep I watched the last 15km on catchup on Eurosport this morning in the freezing cold London gloom. Australia looks nice!

      • DaveRides Thursday, 18 January 2024, 6:57 am

        Come down here for the race next January! Being based out of one city makes it the most accessible of any international stage race for spectators who cycle themselves.

        Better yet, come in 2026 and you can get to enjoy some banter about The Ashes as well 😀

    • Kit B Thursday, 18 January 2024, 7:59 am

      I was looking for the content too and Eurosport (through virgin not on the Eurosport player) seems to be wall-to-wall Australian Open. Couldn’t even see a highlights show.

  • Larry T Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 4:42 pm

    “Australia looks nice!” compared to London. Kind of a low bar, no? One thing about TdU is these races replace things like the Tour of Sicily https://bikeraceinfo.com/stageraces/Sicily-giro/sicilia-giro-index.html which, for entirely selfish reasons I miss. It wasn’t that long ago that pro teams used to come down here for winter training rather than going to Spain. https://cycleitalia.blogspot.com/2018/02/training-roads-of-stars.html
    Those were the daze 🙂

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 8:08 pm

      It does look nice. The bright sunshine, the green vegetation, the 6am sunrise and 8.30pm sunset and more. Sicily has its charms but January? More May to October.

      It’s interesting how even Italian teams go to Spain now for training camps, eg Bardiani. But I heard from one team just how low the room rates are in Spain for them at this time of year and could see why.

      • Greg Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 8:46 am

        Still waiting for the day Larry has absolutely nothing random to rant about in a post.
        That day hell freezes over and we will have everlasting peace in the MENA region.
        Facts!

        • Larry T Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 11:09 am

          Andrew – the reason? They’re called JOBS. Same reason Italians go anywhere. Funny thing is I don’t know a single one who wouldn’t come back in a heartbeat if they could find a way to earn a decent living. A friend in the bike biz (in the USA) told me not too long ago that as soon as his children can be on-their-own, he’s outta there!

        • Larry T Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 11:11 am

          Don’t hold your breath waiting, OK 🙂

    • Andrew Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 9:51 am

      Well, there’s 120 000+ Italians living in London, so we must have something over here that you don’t have over there 😉

      • gabriele Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 12:43 pm

        80 K + Italians living in Tenerife, quite smaller than London – less jobs, even. But!
        Italians are just everywhere because we love to hate our country.
        Another reason, which added up brutally in the last decade to the traditional emigration from the poorer regions and social clusters, is now the mismatch between a high-quality, nearly free higher education system (from secundary school on), in part of the country at least, and the evolution of the country’s whole production structure within the frame of the EU “national spoil system”. More or less what happened to Southern Italy when Italia was “made one”. What goes around, comes around, karma is a b***h, and so on. Now, one might also expect that lessons are learnt from history, all around Europe I mean, but, as it’s way too well known, the only thing history can teach is that nobody ever learns from it.

        • Larry T Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 3:27 pm

          “But! Italians are just everywhere because we love to hate our country.”
          And that’s not true about pretty much every country and citizen?
          I certainly don’t know a whole lot of Italians but the ones living elsewhere that I do know are elsewhere for one big reason – employment opportunities. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count all the “Well, if I was retired and had nothing to do but ride my bike and drink wine all day, I’d be back in Italy in a second!” exclamations I’ve heard since we moved to La Bella Paese permanently. I am very fortunate in that regard.

          • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 3:53 pm

            Enough about Italians… unless you want to talk about [scans results] Michele Gazzoli’s 25th place in Lobethal today.

        • George Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 3:32 pm

          Gabriele, I would love to know exactly what you mean in this comment, but not having enough background knowledge, I’m left wishing you could explain more fully.

          • Tom Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 5:28 pm

            I’m not wishing 🙂

          • gabriele Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 6:29 pm

            Nor is our host – see above (and rightly so).

            Just one generalist link to start with (it refers to a scientific study on a ten year phenomenon) because if I posted more, the comment would be left waiting for mod.
            “To start with”, but “to end with”, too, because it would indeed be a long OT.

            https://www.corriere.it/economia/lavoro/23_ottobre_19/giovani-emigrati-all-estero-dati-istat-numeri-reali-sono-triplo-grande-fuga-laureati-c35a3d0a-6e82-11ee-945f-3f883a74fca3.shtml

            Back to cycling. Well, it’s a bit like Italy being the third overall nation for WT male cyclists (out of 42, or out of 13 with at least ten athletes), 2nd among women (out of 35, or out of 15 with at least five athletes), and not a single WT team anymore.
            Not an issue of grassroots or general movement (for now), since it’s also the 2nd overall nation for registred cyclists of any UCI level from Conti above, men and women.

            PS @Larry …it’s “IL BEL Paese”.

          • George Thursday, 18 January 2024, 10:27 am

            Gabriele, thank you for the link; now if you’ll just send me your login so that I can read it without paying…

          • Thursday Thursday, 18 January 2024, 10:58 am

            George, nothing annoys me more than links to articles that turn out to be “subscriber-only content”, but it gladdens me to assure you that this time linked article is indeed “free-to-read”.
            (Actually I suspect your comment was in jest…)

          • gabriele Thursday, 18 January 2024, 11:11 am

            @George
            Old technology = free access

            (Don’t update your browser and Android OS long enough and you’ll jump through many a paywall. Sorry, I don’t even know which websites are pay-blocked among those which I can still get access too. Try Google?)

            You should really read international press, consider paying… ^___^

          • gabriele Thursday, 18 January 2024, 11:16 am

            @George

            Is a pdf link ok?

            https://media.algebris.com/algebris_policy_research_forum/Issue-3_Game-of-Brains-21st-century-Italian-emigration.pdf

            “The boom in emigration observed since 2008 is not physiological but pathological: while during the previous decade emigration was fairly stable and insensitive to unemployment dynamics, starting in 2008 they have been going hand in hand.The growing trend is mostly explained by emigration of Italians younger than 45, while outflows have been increasing only slightly for the 45-64 cohort and have remained stable among those 65 years old or older. Geographically, most of those who migrate come originally from the north of Italy, which is perhaps unexpected in light of the historically high migration from the south – both internally and abroad.”
            “Most importantly, recent Italian emigration has been characterized by ‘brain drain’ features. The number of migrants holding at least a ba- chelor degree more than tripled in ten years, while the increase is much smaller among lower educated Italians.”
            “Moreover, there seems to be a strong process of self-selection among those who leave. Looking at the 2011 ISTAT survey cohort, the students who graduated with the highest marks (honours, or ‘110 cum laude’ in Italian) represent 40% of the graduates living abroad, but only less than 25% among those who stayed. In other words, not only is Italy losing arelatively larger proportion of high-skilled young people compared to low-skilled ones, but those who go are on the right tail of the distribution, in terms of their academic achievement (the ‘best and brightest’).
            Focusing on the felds of study prevalent among the emigrants, it emer ges from Figure 7 above that the largest increase in emigration has oc- curred among graduates in the STEM felds (science, technology, en- gineering and mathematics). The share of graduates in economics and statistics, scientifc subjects, and engineering living abroad has more than doubled between 2011 and 2015. In 2015, the graduates in scientifc felds represented the largest share among those residing abroad (7.4%), fol- lowed by the engineers (6.7%) and architects (6.5%).”

          • George Thursday, 18 January 2024, 9:21 pm

            Molte grazie.

    • DaveRides Thursday, 18 January 2024, 6:52 am

      How does the TDU replace the Giro di Sicilia?

      The original incarnation died off 22 years before the TDU started.

      The current incarnation started only 5 years ago (by which time the TDU had 21 editions in the books) and is a race in April (not competing with the TDU in January) that RCS created to distract from their increasing reluctance to take the Giro d’Italia into the southern half of the country.

      Italian races are dying off because they are incompetently organised and often just a front for money laundering, not because other races have pushed them out.

      • Larry T Thursday, 18 January 2024, 8:35 am

        “Italian races are dying off because they are incompetently organised and often just a front for money laundering, not because other races have pushed them out.”
        If that’s your opinion I’ll not bother with trying to explain anything to you or asking for any sort of evidence to back up your xenophobic, stereotypical claim.

      • gabriele Thursday, 18 January 2024, 10:14 am

        The above apparently made sense until the last couple of lines. Of course, I personally love something State-owned and funded by public money, but Italian races aren’t mostly like that, especially those which have been shut. In a market system so often it’s not about doing things competently, and money laundering actually helps a lot rather than the other way around. A lot is about controlling supervising institutions, channeling subsidies, hindering through gray-zone manouvres or directly black-ops as many supposed or potential rivals which you can’t collude with. Cycling looks like that. Watch as UK races and movement first rise than struggle with political power ebb and flow, no matter how competent or not they are. Same for France, on an obviously smaller scale due to inertial mass, in past decades when the institutions had taken a different national flavour. Being competent or not is switched on and off so fast? That said, I could make a long list of European races, men and women, which disappeared with no relation at all to organisers being competent or not, less so with money laundering.
        Generalising because of a single recent case, about which most facts haven’t been disclosed, either, is poor -at best- or libel in the worst scenario. Luckily for inrng no Italian race organiser will bother bringing him or her to court for the above, dunno what would happen in other democratic Western countries which love a litigation (note that in Italy it’s the blogger who’s held responsible for commentaries).

  • Anonymous Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 2:27 am

    The TDU can be a frustrating watch (and I’m an Australian-based viewer). Going to an Ad break at 5km to go in a sprint stage is pretty unforgiveable. No idea what happened in that intervening 3kms but anything could have happened, despite a pretty good comms team persisting with about 3 hours of virtually nothing happening beforehand. Also, god knows why the TDU has been shoved onto “7mate” (SD) when there are 2 or 3 others for Channel 7 to choose from with HD (which usually just show re-runs of 90s US sitcoms).

    The race and area is actually a great race to visit on a bike – everywhere is pretty accessible and you can choose your route, catch the race and often ride back to the CBD with the pros. Adelaide is a very chilled out city with some great food. But be ready for the heat….

    As far as the rest of Australia getting a look-in, bear in mind the country is a federation – laws (and police forces) are State-based. This race is very much an “advert” to visit Adelaide – virtually any other part of SA is so remote, it would just be impossible to organise. Also, some States just don’t give a stuff about bike racing and actively discourage it (the local NRS racing scene is really struggling as a result).

    Alaphilippe for stage 2. I hope Grimay can hold on.

    • Richard Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 2:27 am

      sorry, that was me…

  • 150 Watts Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 5:25 am

    Del Toro by name … El Toro by nature!

    • DJW Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 7:48 am

      And what a strange result to wake up to with a couple of ultra-lean climbing types mixed up with multiple muscle-bound sprinters. Del Toro looks a decent candidate for his first WT GC.

      • DaveRides Thursday, 18 January 2024, 6:44 am

        It was a great route for the final of the stage – a climb topping out at 8.6km to go that sprinters could just get over if they put in a big effort, followed by a descent, a short run along the valley and a 300m uphill finishing straight. It had something for everyone.

        This was one of the new race routes trialled during the Covid affected years when the UCI dropped the TDU from the international calendar, and that time it was won by TT specialist Luke Plapp with a solo attack launched just before the Fox Creek Road climb started.

  • Larry T Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 8:30 am

    I’m in Sicily at present. It’s January. Weather hasn’t changed much since UAE and Trek were down here for winter training. When we saw them they weren’t on Mt. Etna, if that’s what you’re thinking weather-wise. Can’t write anything about where they go these daze since I’ve never been there, but perhaps more (and cheaper) lodging choices are part of it? Maybe the (awful) “White Lotus” effect has something to do with it? While my sample is small and unscientific we encountered a lot of people who said they came here because of that terrible HBO series 🙁

    • Michael B Thursday, 18 January 2024, 11:49 am

      American, loud and brash with a romanticised view of Sicily…

      I really enjoyed the White Lotus.

      • Larry T Thursday, 18 January 2024, 12:39 pm

        It was certainly popular though IMHO it was a typical, terrible soap-opera, but did have great scenery shots that I can understand would create the “Honey, we have to go there!” invasion that we experienced a part-of this past summer. I’m sure some tourist-industry folks are as happy about that as I am disgusted with it. Kind of like the cruise ships in Venice, people who profit from ’em like ’em just fine while people who live there hate them and would like them banned.

  • 150 Watts Thursday, 18 January 2024, 5:56 am

    Bora, Bora, Bora!

  • Anonymous Thursday, 18 January 2024, 12:46 pm

    PS @Larry …it’s “IL BEL Paese”.
    Can I blame that on auto complete/spell check, etc? Probably not. In Italian I “sbagliato tutto con accento brutto” but my Italian teacher always points out that I’m never afraid to try vs her other students who often look up at the ceiling when called upon to speak, 🙂

  • Larry T Thursday, 18 January 2024, 12:47 pm

    Ooop! Sorry for the anonymous post above.

  • Cascarinho Thursday, 18 January 2024, 6:29 pm

    When I started to read this commentaries I was very far from thinking it would end in a debate about Italian emigration, Italian organisation and Italian weather… Nobody expects the Italian polemica !

    • gabriele Thursday, 18 January 2024, 7:49 pm

      Even less so when it’s soooo far from the topic ^___^
      Off season OT toxines! Apologies.

      • Larry T Thursday, 18 January 2024, 8:55 pm

        Well, perhaps it’s a result of the oh-so-exciting race that was previewed? I have no real objection to TdU, just my own selfish wish they’d run a Tour of Sicily during this time instead, like back-in-the-day.

    • astram Friday, 19 January 2024, 9:02 pm

      Staying off topic, about italian emigration there is the story of Gianni Savio, the old DS of Androni-Sidermec who went to Colombia in 2023 to found GW-Sidermec and for 2024 just moved to Mexico to manage Petrolike-Androni (they are near to win Vuelta a Tachira with Jonathan Caicedo).

      • Larry T Saturday, 20 January 2024, 8:09 am

        Savio (met him once) is a character who just seems to love cycling – to the point of moving to Mexico to stay involved, as you note. Certainly a bit of what some would call a ham as he’s always in the TV frame when any of his riders are it seems. To many Anglos he has a dodgy reputation for reasons I don’t really understand but I’m sure plenty here will be happy to explain ’em all.

  • 150 Watts Thursday, 18 January 2024, 10:32 pm

    I suspect that Del Toro and UAE are finding it interesting as would be the Bora lead out train.

  • DJW Friday, 19 January 2024, 9:13 am

    DSM must be feeling a little envious seeing former rider, Welsford, cleaning up three straight WT wins.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 19 January 2024, 12:43 pm

      They rated Welsford a lot last year, taking him to the Tour de France (this blog’s sung his praises too for his apparent “long” sprint, as a former track pursuiter he can hit the front and just keep pouring on the watts as opposed to others who have a short but quick jump, eg Viviani). DSM have cleared out other sprinters to make way for Jakobsen. It’ll be interesting to see how this works because we can see how effective Bora’s leadout is, Van Poppel is powerful, quick and while not aggressive, just solid in the sense that others probably don’t want to try and bounce him as they might come off worse. DSM meanwhile are building a train and it might take time to get it working.

  • gabriele Friday, 19 January 2024, 9:48 am

    Don’t think so. At 28 despite a late start at pro level, DSM probably know well what *they* could get from him. Not much to regret if *other* teams are then able to bring an athlete to a higher level – which might be the case, or not, given the modest sporting meaning of TDU, especially when Austral athletes are those shining in the middle of their Summer. As a team you might regret if a growing athlete with undisclosed potential is taken away before you can reap the results (Matteo Jorgenson, Uijtdebroeks, Arensman etc.), but when a sprinter went to Quickstep and became top of the world, no previous team had any special regret, everybody knows how things are. Same for when 29 yo Knees went to Sky, nobody at then-closing Milram, as for what I’ve listened, ever thought that all those seasons they had had as a local scene podiumer what was “really” a potential world-class gregario able to make the best of the rest lined-up and sweating hard on TDF climbs. Some teams can improve athletes, and if the latter stayed in smaller teams they just wouldn’t perform as much, everyone involved is aware.

  • 150 Watts Friday, 19 January 2024, 10:05 am

    I think the Australian UCI team riders all live in Europe so it is not obvious to me what advantage they have. Welsford just seems to have struck gold with the Bora lead out set-up.
    Credit where credit is due I would have thought.

    • gabriele Friday, 19 January 2024, 10:35 am

      As a local Aussie you surely know better but several of those who were living in Italy through most of the year (before Girona triumphed) used to go back to the Southern emisphere during Boreal winter for obvious reasons, better training options, better rest options, reconnecting with broader family and old friends etc.
      Dunno about Welsford specifically.
      Still, have a look at TDU classifications through the years and don’t tell me that Austral (not only “Australian”) athletes aren’t “overperforming”… that’s normally been the reason. It’s just like when at a winter club ride some tanned guy shows up after a couple of Christmas weeks spent in Lanzarote.

    • gabriele Friday, 19 January 2024, 10:40 am

      However, if you read closely my post above, Welsford’s potential summer training is just a minor caveat (“maybe there’s something of that, or not”), the main points being instead related to team advantages, among with, surely, a powerful train in the case of a sprinter.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 19 January 2024, 12:39 pm

      A lot of Australians keep a home in Australia and typically Andorra/Girona, or they stay with family in Australia. Plapp for example has been training in Australia for months at his parents’ place and so enjoying the good weather. Plus they’ve had their national championships as well, it’s something to aim for.

      Some Europeans fly out for the TDU with just a few days to go but if teams can afford it, then they are giving riders a place to stay in January and even December so they can train in the Aussie summer.

  • 150 Watts Friday, 19 January 2024, 10:57 am

    I will take a look at the history but think it is more the case that the race doesn’t attract the cream of the crop and Australians obviously have more reasons to make the trip.

    • gabriele Friday, 19 January 2024, 11:34 am

      Look, I’ve just read an interview to Plapp saying he’s going to make the most of “summer form”, Chris Harper declared the same to SBS two years ago and there’s certainly more if one goes googling. But what do they know… ^___^ It implies *both* that they obviously go back home during Boreal winter (how could that be otherwise, frankly, be it only for human and personal reasons) *and* that they consider it relevant form-wise.
      And given you’ve looked at the numbers, does that look the usual quote of Austral winners? Yes, they’re good, as they are the rest of the year, so normally Aussie win half of the editions in any race since 2000? Not even the Belgian on the cobbles, and despite having had Boonen… It’s hugely skewed. But it’s fine because it’s an “have fun” warm-up race, which is great by the way.

      • 150 Watts Friday, 19 January 2024, 11:45 am

        Well Luke Plapp didn’t … and he should have ignored the message from the team car.
        My final comment on this is that I see Del Toro as the likely winner and that he will continue on to be a very big name.
        For a race that had very humble origins I think the TDU is travelling quite nicely.

      • Larry T Friday, 19 January 2024, 5:08 pm

        “It’s hugely skewed. But it’s fine because it’s an “have fun” warm-up race, which is great by the way.”
        Agreed, great until the “he’s gonna wipe the floor with everyone this season” starts up based on what happens in that “have fun warm-up race” But by the time the real season begins that’s all been forgotten.

  • 150 Watts Friday, 19 January 2024, 11:11 am

    14 out of 23 to Australians but the names are generally respectable. Gerrans (4 time winner) and Stuart O’Grady (2) have both won big races in Europe and I think Ritchie Porte (2) has more than one stage race to his name. Then throw in a couple of world time trial champions and the trophy looks worth having your name on.

  • 150 Watts Saturday, 20 January 2024, 11:51 am

    Too many names that are new to me now so I have no idea who will deliver the goods tomorrow.