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The ultimate guide to Stage One of the Tour Down Under
Following the Peoples Choice Classic on opening night is Stage One, a stage of the Tour Down Under (TDU) that normally finishes in the Barossa Valley. However this year, for something completely different, Stage One starts in the Barossa town of Tanunda and ends in Campbelltown.
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
Stage One is an epicurian's delight with so many choices for breakfast, lunch and whatever along the route taken by the riders, and great views of the race from the majority of the venues. With several new cafes opening up in Tanunda's main street in recent times, coupled with those in the main streets of Nuriootpa and Angaston, there is bound to be something for everyone.
And of course the race heads past numerous wineries, cellar doors and restaurants, so the choices continue. Perhaps you prefer something special at Vintners or Salters, or prefer something more casual at Nosh Café or Blond coffee or perhaps just one of Adelaide's best Cornish pasties from the Baker St Bakery in Williamstown, a popular hang out for spectators over the years.
The race starts with two laps of the Barossa towns, thus meaning a good opportunity to see the riders twice in the only area that it would be possible for the day. Good viewing spots include :
The tight left hander from Research Road in to Angaston Road will be a slow corner for riders
The main street of Angaston, in any of the coffee shops, as the riders slow a little to conquer the ascent
The Williamstown to Mt Crawford Road hill
Checkers Hill at the rear side, particularly near the 'kicker' just before the final KOM
Parking bay at the top of Kangaroo Creek Reservoir
The not so good viewing spot is the sprint line outside Bethany Church. On this fast downhill, riders are expected to hit speeds of 70kmh past this church, making rider identification nigh on impossible.
Early on Monday, the third stage of the Santos Womens Cup is on, travelling the same course as the Men on the Tuesday. And when that event concludes , the Tourriffic Prospect Street Party kicks off again from 5pm until 11pm. On Prospect Road there will be a show of community celebrations as local residents and traders get together for an evening of great hospitality, music, dancing in the streets and art and cycling demonstrations.
On the Tuesday prior to the race, make sure you get to Tanunda early as the town gets dressed up for the Santos best dressed town competition. There will be bikes and various displays and of the course the Subaru Tour Parade will be handing out giveaways about an hour before the riders sign on and commence their 3 hour ride.
For cyclists wanting to see parts of this race, there are plenty of choices depending upon your fitness levels, and your efforts at the events on the day before. For those with stronger legs, a ride out to the Barossa along the Jack Bobridge Track is a way to avoid clashes with traffic.
Jack Bobridge Track
Alternatively cyclists wanting to spectate closer to home may find the trip up one of Adelaide's favourite bike routes, Gorge Road, very exhilarating. Following the Torrens River in lots of shade is a very pleasant ride, with lots of spots to stop and watch for Tour as it comes past.
Notes for Riders
This is probably the toughest ride for the professional cyclists. Who else in their right mind would travel past so many cellar doors, wineries, cafes and the like, and not stop.
Notwithstanding that my hints for riders on this Stage One are :
The race starts with two 32km loops around Tanunda, Nuriootpa and Angaston. A quick stop at Artisans of the Barossa on Light Pass Road for coffee, wine samples and some of the BBQ should be possible before the riders come back around again
Watch out for the gravel and the rail line as you take the tight left hander from Research Road in to Angaston Road
Rockfalls are common on the Gorge Road just below the Kangaroo Creek Reservoir
If you think the Paris Roubaix is tough, just wait until you travel on Gorge Road from Castambul to Athelstone. Those cobblestones have nothing on us.
Koalas are cute, but can be stubborn when asked to move of the road around their patch near the finish line
At the race finish at Foxfield Oval on Maryvale Road, Campbelltown Council will be providing a free and exciting community event, known as, Gear Up @ Campbelltown, and will feature a great selection of food and drinks, water based activities including a huge slip n slide, water guzzlers, live on-stage and street entertainment.
And as the day rolls on, the options continue. For cyclists who want to experience Adelaide's premier twilight bunch rides, take a trip down to Scuzzi Café in North Adelaide, and join the Scuzzi Riders on their 50km bunch trip to Outer Harbour and return in what is guaranteed to be their biggest ride of the year. Alternatively a trip down to Victoria Park will see the women compete in the final stage of the Santos Womens Cup, around the picturesque city criterium track.
Also as a prelude to the next stage, the Unley Gourmet Gala will be held on King William Road in Hyde Park from 4pm until late. One of Adelaide's more prestigious events of the TDU, the annual Unley Gourmet Gala is an exciting outdoor gourmet experience showcasing some of South Australia's finest local food, wine, fashion, music and entertainment.