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Santos Tour Down Under Stage Five

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
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The ultimate guide to Stage Five of the Tour Down Under
Stage Five

The Queen Stage of the Tour Down Under occurs in and around the McLaren Vale region and encompasses three trips along the beautiful Esplanades around Aldinga followed by a couple of trips up Old Willunga Hill Road before a hilltop finish on the top of Willunga Hill.

Tour Down Under
McLaren Vale

To help everybody through the TDU, and in particular the spectators, visitors, riders, cyclists, foodies and anyone in between, this guide to surviving this stage of the Santos Tour Down Under is offered.

The Race for Foodies

The choice for foodies is wide and varied with some excellent options in McLaren Vale, Willunga and a number of cellar doors. Some of the more well known cafes providing some great views of the cycling include Christinas on High Street, Green Room on High Street, Tin Shed Café, Bracegirdles.

If a beach view has more of an interest to you, then it is hard to go past the Star of Greece or the local Aldinga Beach fish and chip shop. With exceptional water views, and cyclists heading past three times, you have the best of all worlds.

Tour Down Under
Sellicks Beach

The Race for Spectators

Stage Five, on a Saturday, draws the largest crowd for any non-City based event due to the great views of sea, hills, country, vines and riders as they pass through.

Some of the best vantage spots for views of riders are :

Anywhere along the Esplanade at Aldinga, including sprint line near Snapper Point
Main Street of McLaren Vale
Main road on way to Willunga near the drinks station (chance to grab some discarded water bottles)
Willunga township as riders pass through 5 times
Anywhere along Willunga Hill as riders seek to conquer this iconic climb

Tour Down Under
Aldinga Beach

Before The Race

The Love Velo Seaside Dinner on Port Willunga Beach occurs on the Friday night before Stage Five. South Australia's longest silver service dining table hosts up to 500 guests who will enjoy a three course, drinks, jazz and magical sunset.

Tour Down Under
Willunga Hill

And on the morning of the Stage the whole town of McLaren Vale comes to a standstill as the town looks to emulate its 2014 feat of being named Santos Best Dressed Town. The best commercial property, in its first year was the Golden Fleece Café at Willunga where the café chose to showcase Australian-made bikes for sale as well as decorating the bike wheels in the town's colours. The best private residence was won by Stefan Horlund of McLaren Vale, who presented a "Santa's Tour Down Under" theme. So get yourself to McLaren Vale early and take a tour of the town as it gets in to TDU party mode.

Getting There

For cyclists coming from Adelaide, it is possible to get to McLaren Vale and Willunga with very limited road travel. From O'Halloran Hill travel on the Patrick Jonker Veloway to Old Noarlunga, and then join the Coast to Vines Rail Trail to take you through McLaren Vale and then the Shiraz Trail to Willunga.

Tour Down Under
Willunga Hill

Notes for Riders

Today's stage takes riders past the beach, vines, cafes and the hills in what is always a testing day for riders. My suggestions for riders today are :

Aldinga Beach has just been named our best beach, but wearing your bathers may not be the most appropriate attire
Maslin Beach is a popular nudist beach - perhaps wearing your bathers while riding is a good idea
The Victory Hotel at Sellicks is a great place to celebrate, but perhaps wait until the end of the race

Tour Down Under
King of the Mountain

After The Race

After race activities continue back in the City at the Tour Village and Bike Expo for the last time, often with some good clearance specials available to shrewd shoppers.

Tour Down Under
Bike Expo

And when you have finished shopping, it is time to get the black tie out and head down to the Convention Centre for the Legends Dinner. A full three course meal, beverages, music and the dulcet tones of Phil Liggett and Mike Sherwin await all attendees. Tickets, at $250 per head, are usually snapped up quickly for this event which features a number of TDU riders, with an interview of the first American winner of the Tour De France, the legendary Greg LeMond. It will be a night not to miss.

Tour Down Under
Legends Dinner

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Why? The Queen Stage - be there
When: 24 January 2015
Where: McLaren Vale, South Australia
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I highly recommend the tin shed cafe
by Sharon (score: 1|50) 2056 days ago
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