The organisers of the Tour Down Under have unveiled a familiar looking route for its 20th edition next January. For the first time since its 1999 debut, the South Australian race will visit Port Adelaide which hosts the start of Stage 1.
Old Willunga Hill is again the queen stage of the race and will be the penultimate day of racing before the traditional final stage Adelaide city street circuit.
The 2018 Tour Down Under takes place January 16-18, with the January 14 People's Choice Classic criterium continuing its place as a key-warm up event for the WorldTour race.
"If you had asked me in 1999 what did the next 20 years hold for the TDU, I could never have imagined we would achieve so much as an event in such a short period," race director Mike Turtur said at the unveiling.
The stage four finish in the Adelaide hills at Uraidla, after the late ascent of Norton Summit, and is the only new start or finish town for 2017. For the third year running, the Barossa town of Lyndoch hosts the stage 1 finish. Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under sees Stirling return as a finish town after its debut as a start town for five laps in 2017. Unley will host the start of stage 2. Stage 3's south jaunt from Glenelg to Victor Harbor is another traditional stage of the race and again expected to finish in a bunch sprint.
The then concludes with the two 'GC' stages with McLaren Vale hosting the start of stage 5, and the city circuit suited to the sprinters.
South Australian Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell is expecting bumper crowds for 2018 after increased financial assistance from the state government and confirmation of Santos' new two-year deal as naming rights sponsor.
"The Santos Tour Down Under has grown to become the biggest cycling event outside of Europe – a far cry from its humble beginnings and testament to the fantastic team who work tirelessly to deliver this event year on year," said Bignell. "Last year’s race pumped a record $56.5 million into our State’s economy and created hundreds of jobs – this year we aim to celebrate the 20th edition of the race by achieving record crowds – let’s hit the million mark and show the world just how impressive the Santos Tour Down Under really is."
"We have invested an extra $6 million to grow the race, with broader focus on a festival of cycling –meaning bigger and better concerts, more family activities, and more cycling action for everyone. The first win of the season at this year’s race has set BMC Racing Team’s Richie Porte near the top of the individual UCI World Ranking, showing spectators the Santos Tour Down Under is truly a show of some of the world’s best cyclists."
Richie Porte is the defending Tour Down Under champion after his stage wins and overall victory in January. Australian riders have won all six stages of the race for the last two editions and the race organisers will be aiming to again attract the likes of world champion Peter Sagan to try and break the streak.
2018 Tour Down Under
Sunday 14 January, 2018: People’s Choice Classic, Wakefield Road Circuit, 50.6km
Tuesday 16 January 2018, Stage 1: Port Adelaide to Lyndoch, 145km
Wednesday 17 January 2018, Stage 2: Unley to Stirling, 148.6km
Thursday 18 January 2018, Stage 3: Glenelg to Victor Harbor, 146.5km
Friday 19 January 2018, Stage 4: Norwood to Uraidla, 128.2km
Saturday 20 January 2018, Stage 5: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 151.5km
Sunday 21 January 2018,Stage 6: Adelaide Street Circuit, 90km