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January 21, 2011
The Adelaide Hills will again be the scene of some tough, but stunning racing as the peloton heads through the historic tourist towns of Lobethal and Hahndorf before the finish at Strathalbyn.
As always on this route south, Checker Hill could provide an opportunity for a breakaway at the 27 km mark but this well-travelled route south is a testing one and there will be some tired legs at the end of the day.
Rabobank's Graeme Brown says:
It's a nice hard start to the race going through the Gorge. Any Australian has probably ridden through the Gorge about a billion times. Stuart O'Grady's bike just rides through there by itself. Checker Hill is hard and it's quite steep, although it's less than a kilometre. It's hard to go up the hill – the road is dead straight but it's all about being in the right position with two kilometres to go because you turn onto a smaller road. It's more of a Belgian Classics style of ride.
If you're at the front it's a piece of cake. If there's one lesson I've learnt for this stage it's not to ride on Lance Armstrong's wheel like I did last year because you get hit by hands all the time going ‘There he is! There he is!'...
It will be a bunch sprint again but it will hurt. Sprinters that don't have top form or don't climb quite as well are going to struggle because it's just up and down all day.
The last 600m could be affected by cross winds. 1150m you turn left, 800m you turn right. At 640m it's a straight line to the finish. In a blink of an eye the race is over. If Mark Cavendish didn't get lucky on stage two, expect to see his train going full gas here. But I reckon Andre Greipel will suck his doors off.
Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under