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January 19, 2011
For the second stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, the peloton follows a new route along the mighty Murray River before heading north-west and then back east to the finish in Mannum.
There's a slight sting early for everyone today with the tough climb at Murray Bridge 24 km's in that's not actually worth any points for those contesting the King of the Mountains jersey.
The fast men can fight it out for the sprint points at the 53 km mark prior to the short climb for the King of the Mountain prize around 10 km up the road at Dawesley Hill.
Expect the sprint finish at Mannum to cause the odd bit of chaos with some sharp turns before the long finishing straight on the river banks.
Rabobank's Graeme Brown says:
We hit the Old Princess Hwy for a slow climb within the first kilometre and with plenty of space around us the pace won't be too fast so the bunch won't be as spread out and it won't be as big of a stretch as when you have a small narrow climb where everyone wants to be at the front.
If you were to look at the map this one would scare you a bit. The climb at Murray Bridge is going to hurt at 25km – and it's not even the KOM prize. That's a nice painful way to start the race.
The final 70-odd kilometres is flat, dead-ish, slightly up, slightly down but it could be a slow run in to Mannum. With the winds coming from the north at the moment, we should be in for a technical finish. The last 1700m is basically straight so it should be quite interesting.
Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under