Having been granted a two-year WorldTour licence extension by the UCI last week, the route of the 17th Tour Down Under in 2015 has been revealed with a mix of new and old.
Having featured in the last two editions of the race, the Corkscrew climb has been admitted from the 2015 edition with race director Mike Turtur developing a course that gives equal opportunity to sprinters, climbers and all-rounders at the South Australian race although the decisive hill top finish on Willunga Hill is retained.
"Next year's race has some new locations as well as seeing some of our old favourites return," Turtur said. "It always a challenge to keep the race fresh and exciting.
"In an event first there will be a stage finish in the Adelaide Hills town of Paracombe, the smallest rural spot to ever host a stage."
Turtur is pleased with the balanced route, described how he expects the stages to play out.
"Stage 1 from Tanunda to Campbelltown will see us get off to a spectacular start with no race neutral and racing starting straight out of the township," he said. "The new finish location in Campbelltown, presents a very tough, uphill sprint which will demand perfect timing by the sprinters.
"There will be two loops through the Barossa before riders tackle Checker Hill in the opposite direction to usual and power towards the finish line.
"The new finish at Paracombe and the climb up Torrens Hill Road will make for a very interesting stage. We are returning to Glenelg after many years for a stage start which will be a highlight for Bupa Stage 4 as well as the Bupa Challenge Tour and on the same day a new finish location in Mount Barker."
While the final route for stage six is yet be announced, it will be a city-criterium around the streets of Adelaide as has become traditional.
As a WorldTour event, all 18 teams are invited to the race along with the UniSA composite team of Australian riders. Australian Pro-Continental team Drapac rode the Tour Down Under this year for the first time having received a wildcard invitation from the race organisers.
For 2015, should an Australian team be granted a Pro-Continental Licence, they will be able to apply for the sole wildcard invitation on offer.
Simon Gerrans' (Orica-GreenEdge) victory this year saw him become the first rider to win the race on three occasions while Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) is the most successful stage winner in race history with 16 victories.
2015 Santos Tour Down Under:
18 January: People's Choice Classic (Adelaide) – 51 km
20 January: Stage 1 – Tanunda to Campbelltown – 132.6 km
21 January Stage 2 – Unley to Stirling – 150.5 km
22 January Stage 3 – Norwood to Paracombe – 143km
23 January: Bupa Stage 4 – Glenelg to Mount Barker – 145km
24 January: Stage 5 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill – 151km
25 January: Be Safe Be Seen MAC Stage 6 – Adelaide (final route to be determined)