Tour Down Under 2024 Preview

Date

16 a 21/01/2024

Category

2.UWT

First edition

1999

Most wins

General: Simon Gerrans (4)

Stages: André Greipel (18)

HOW TO FOLLOW

The different stages can be followed on different platforms, we highlight two: Eurosport and Teledeporte.

In addition, we recommend following the official X account (@tourdownunder) as well as the hashtag (#TourDownUnder).

ROUTE ANALYSIS

16/01Stage 1TanundaTanunda144 km
17/01Stage 2NorwoodLobethal141.6 km
18/01Stage 3Tea Tree GullyCampbelltown145.3 km
19/01Stage 4Murray BridgePort Elliot136.2 km
20/01Stage 5Christies BeachWillunga Hill129.3 km
21/01Stage 6UnleyMount Lofty128.2 km

STAGE 1

Santos Tour Down Under 2024 Stage: 1 Tanunda - Tanunda

Schedule: 11.10 a.m – 15.00 p.m. Local time.

The first stage of this Tour Down Under takes place entirely on a circuit around Tanunda. The day is not too hard, but it is true that the passage through Menglers Hill (2.1km – 3.7%) could end up breaking the race somehow, although it seems difficult.

Everything points to the opening day being a sprint, with the fastest riders fighting for the first win and the lead. Among the last kilometers there is little to highlight, in general a fairly clean sprint.

STAGE 2

Santos Tour Down Under 2024 Stage: 2 Norwood - Lobethal

Schedule: 11.10 a.m – 15.00 p.m. Local time.

The difficulty increases on this second day of the race, where 2500 meters of positive ascent are already accumulated. A day that starts upwards, with the ascent to Asthon (10km – 4%) allowing the breakaway to take off and accumulating elevation.

Shortly before the 40th kilometer, the peloton will pass the town of Lobhetal, entering the circuit that will see the riders for a total of three laps. This circuit is defined by the Fox Creek Climb (1.6km – 5.1%), a not very long climb but enough to do some damage in the bunch and allow some movement. The last pass over this climb will be just over 8 kilometers from the finish, the perfect moment to attack in the peloton and try to reach the finish line.

From there, the last kilometers have a negative tendency, with some steep slopes that could favor the peloton if it has a hunting pace.

STAGE 3

Santos Tour Down Under 2024 Stage: 3 Tea Tree Gully - Campbelltown

Schedule: 11.10 a.m – 15.00 p.m. Local time.

The third day of this Tour Down Under has two clearly differentiated parts. The first 60 kilometers of the day are demanding, with the categorized Tea Tree Gully Hill (2.1km – 6%) and Whispering Wall Climb (1.6km – 2%), plus a long «flat» phase to be faced after Whilliamstown.

But from that point on, the remaining 80 kilometers are favorable enough to think that the day should be contested in a sprint. Perhaps a breakaway group could challenge the peloton on such a day.

As for the sprint, it’s a bit twisty between kilometer -2 and -800 meters to go, with a double bend and a fairly long left-leaning curve. But despite everything, there should be no problems in a massive sprint.

STAGE 4

Santos Tour Down Under 2024 Stage: 4 Murray Bridge - Port Elliot

Schedule: 11.10 a.m – 15.00 p.m. Local time.

Quiet day, despite what it may seem. The presence of Gemmel Hill (4.2km – 3.8%) in the second half of the day will be almost negligible. A sprint in Port Elliot is expected and watch out, because the last kilometers are not excessively quiet.

Not so much because of the hardness, although the slight «flat» part that we have in the last kilometer will be noticed, but because of the twisty finish. A long, very long right-hand curve that starts almost 2 kilometers from the finish, is followed by a very sharp one 550 meters from the finish. Being well positioned at this point will be the key to winning. Watch out for a possible surprise at this finish. Having studied the finish and being lucky, you can win a lot.

STAGE 5

Santos Tour Down Under 2024 Stage: 5 Christies Beach - Willunga Hill

Schedule: 11.10 a.m – 14.30 p.m. Local Time.

Willunga Hill returns Down Under after three years without being present. Last year it was not part of the course and the two previous years the race was cancelled due to the pandemic. A climb that will take two steps and is basically an icon of the race.

The first 100 kilometers of the race will be inconsequential. But when the peloton faces the first pass over Willunga Hill (3km – 7.5%) the picture will change. A climb that will be key to decide the rider who will win the overall race.

As a curiosity, Richie Porte holds the record of the climb with a time of 6’34». A record he obtained in 2020, where curiously he was second in the finish line. A finish where he has won up to six times, even naming the summit.

STAGE 6

Santos Tour Down Under 2024 Stage: 6 Unley - Mount Lofty

Schedule: 11.10 a.m – 14.30 p.m. Local Time.

If the Willunga Hill day is decisive for the overall, this one will put the finishing touches to it. This edition of the Tour Down Under ends with a tough day. With a protagonist ascent, Mount Lofty (1.3km – 8%) that will be faced up to three times throughout the day.

The last pass over Mount Lofty will coincide with the finish line, which curiously is placed a few meters after the top. Although it is true that depending on where we look, it can start and finish at different points. Everything points to an exciting day, with the overall at stake and everything being decided in the last meters.

THE WEATHER


© eltiempo.es

Although it is better to analyze each day individually. It is good to note that a quiet week is expected in Australia. The heat will prevail, although without being excessive.

PARTICIPANTS

IL CAPO DATA (Cedric Molina)

  • 8 out of the last 11 overall classifications were won by Australian riders.
  • Caleb Ewan is aiming to become only the third rider in the history of this race to win at least 10 stages.
  • The last time Simon Yates won an overall in a .Pro or .WT race was at the 2021 Tour of the Alps. To find a .WT we have to go back to the pandemic in 2020, when he won Tirreno-Adriatico.

OVERALL FAVORITES

Looking at the route everything points to the winner of this Tour Down Under being a rider with ‘punching’ ability, a man who is a specialist in short efforts and always under 10′. The first two days may make some difference, but it seems clear that the climb of Willunga Hill will be key to who takes the overall. With the respect of Mount Loufty, which could allow a turnaround in the overall during the last day. Let’s analyze first the big contenders:

  • Simon Yates: Last year he tried to storm the overall in the Australian race, falling just 11″ short of victory. The course was different from this edition, but it’s still a good one for him. If we look for other results of Yates in Down Under, we will only find his participation in 2020, where he could only be seventh overall. On the day of Willunga he finished in 10th position, being the sixth best rider overall on that climb, with a time of 6’54». Nevertheless, the analysis is far from the opinion. For me Simon Yates starts as one of the great favorites for this 2023 edition and streaks are there to be broken.

  • Luke Plapp: For me, the big favorite of this edition. Plapp has shown on several occasions that he can perform on this type of course and also adds the value of his form, recently demonstrated in the nationals. He does not have a good relationship with Down Under, being far from the overall in his only participation. On top of that, he has the enemy at home with Simon Yates. We’ll see if they decide to play for one or the other, with Chris Harper also having his role. Nevertheless, I’m sure he wants to keep pushing the accelerator at the start of the season and fight for everything in his new team.

  • Julian Alaphillipe: Only one participation Down Under, without fighting for the overall. Lou Lou has said on several occasions that he wants to be someone else this season and his intention is to fight for big victories again. The race suits him, with the unknown of what we can expect from him in Willunga. Being a real unknown, by conditions he should be among the best, if he wants to be competitive again he has to prove it. Both to the public and to himself.

  • Jonathan Narvaez: In Ineos we can expect a good race from several riders: Filippo Ganna, Leo Hayter, Laurens de Plus, Josh Tarling… but the stage is perfect for Narvaez to prove his worth. The Ecuadorian is often underrated and sometimes overshadowed by his teammates, but this Tour Down Under could be different. He already showed with his victory in the classic (a criterium, yes) that he is not coming to ride around Australia.

  • Milan Vader: Once he has left behind his physical problems, which were close to retire him from cycling and who knows if something else, the Visma rider comes to Australian territory with gallons. He already proved at the end of last year to be at a great level, with his victory in Guanxi, besides being a rider who shines in short efforts. He comes with gallons and together with Johannes Staune-Mittet will be the chosen ones of the yellow team to fight for the overall.

  • Derek Gee: Perhaps the strangest to see among the favorites, but certainly a personal bet. At the beginning of the season, the data provided by the training of different riders is something important to analyze before facing this type of preliminaries. Among these data it is worth mentioning Gee’s effort in Willunga Hill just two days ago. Enough to think that he wants to fight for the overall. He already showed last season that he is an interesting rider and that he defends himself in practically all terrains.

Along with my six favorites there are other riders who should be watched in the fight for the overall, such as Diego Ulissi, Ruben Guerreiro, Oscar Onley, Finn Fisher Black, Damien Howson, Matthew Dinham, Michael Storer or Torstein Traen. Among them, I am looking forward to seeing Isaac del Toro, not only because he is the last winner of the Avenir, but also because we saw him very active in the previous classic. Next to him Jack Rootkin-Gray, Gil Gelders or Archie Ryan are other names to take into account among the young riders. Others like Antonio Morgado, Bastien Tronchon or Lars Boven may have other better scenarios to shine, although they have plenty of class.

Finally mention some riders like Caleb Ewan (although dragging doubts in recent days), Phil Bauhaus, Danny van Poppel, Sam Welsford, Biniam Girmay, Jose Alvaro Hodeg, Elia Viviani, Corbin Strong (who could also make a good overall) or Madis Mikhels that despite not being important overall for the general classification, if they will be important in the fight for the stages. Four riders stand out in this group of stage chasers: Emil Liepins, Stan van Trich, Laurence Pithie and Milan Fretin, riders I’m looking forward to seeing and I think they can shine with their own light in this early season.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ Luke Plapp
⭐️⭐️Julian Alaphillipe, Simon Yates
⭐️Jonathan Narváez, Milan Vader, Derek Gee

My favorite: Luke Plapp

My joker: Derek Gee


Fotos: Tim de Waele / Perfiles: San Luca