As the Santos Tour Down Under celebrates its 15th edition in 2013, organisers have revealed that the Australian WorldTour event will introduce some new firsts next January.
Following the success of the long-hoped-for hilltop finish on Old Willunga Hill this year, where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) held off Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in a nail-biting finish, the queen stage will return. Gerrans went on to win the 2011 event, his team's first overall victory of the season in their inaugural year.
The Tour's second stage from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills to Rostrevor on the east of the city outskirts is a new route and will be the shortest open road stage in the race's history at 116 kilometres, and also includes a gruelling new Škoda King of the Mountain climb on Corkscrew Hill.
In what is believed to be a unique feature in the WorldTour, Stage 4 Modbury to Tanunda will begin with a grass start. After successfully hosting stages last year, Prospect, Lobethal, Unley, Stirling, Tanunda, and McLaren Vale will again host stage starts or finishes.
"We've built the Santos Tour Down Under successfully over 15 years and it now brings in more than $42 million of economic activity, which is quite an achievement, but we're always looking at ways to keep the event dynamic and constantly evolving," said race director Mike Turtur.
"Last year's event was soaked up by more than 760,000 spectators, which included more than 36,000 interstate and international visitors," he continued. "With the race route travelling through South Australia's spectacular regions, it's a great opportunity for visitors to explore the state's diverse attractions and scenery and enjoy the warm January weather. I look forward to seeing the exciting new components of next year's event unfold and to again welcoming some of the world's best cyclists to South Australia."
The 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from 20 to 27 January, 2013.
Sunday 20 January - People's Choice Classic - Rymill Park, Adelaide (51km)
Monday 21 January - Rest day
Tuesday 22 January - Stage 1 - Prospect to Lobethal (135km)
Wednesday 23 January - Stage 2 - Mt Barker to Rostrevor (116.5km)
Thursday 24 January - Stage 3 - Unley to Stirling (139km)
Friday 25 January - Bupa Stage 4 - Modbury to Tanunda (126.5km)
Saturday 26 January - Jayco Stage 5 - McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill (151.5km)
Sunday 27 January - Stage 6 - Elder Park, Adelaide (90km)