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Stage 3: Unley - Stirling, 129km

Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 3 Map

Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 3 Map (Image credit: Santos Tour Down Under)

The peloton will first head south for a stunning day of racing from Unley, back north to the historic town of Stirling in the famed Adelaide Hills.

Those chasing points can do so early with sprints on offer at McLaren Flat at the 31 km mark and then at Echunga at 64km. Then the going gets really tough.

The two laps up Mount Barker Road have been known to test teams out in the past and this year will be no different. He whose team can control the pace over these two laps should succeed in 2011.

Rabobank's Graeme Brown says:

This will hurt. We start at Unley and just go straight up the express way which is normally just flat out. It's a big, fast road, uphill, quite painful and you see lots of lumps in the profile and you think it's a typo but it's up and down, bumpy – not in the road surface but in the hills.

I've done the Stirling circuit before but the King of the Mountains climb at Bridgewater just before it that we did in training a few days ago and it's not easy. Then you get onto the Stirling Circuit – it's pretty solid, it's not long, it's maybe a kilometre, two kilometres max but it's a proper climb.

I think ever since we've had this stage, it's been a bunch sprint but people blow at a kilometre to go. The steepest part of the finish is at 800m to go and that's where is causes the most problems.

Last year Caisse d'Epargne rode around there full gas and it was just carnage on the basis that they wanted it fast so it would eliminate sprinters for Alejandro Valverde. This year you might get a few teams that want to attack and make it difficult but with so many sprinters it's going to be hard not to control race. This is another stage that's got Matt Goss' name on it.

The year before last I was second in the stage. It's hard and it sort of eliminates your mistakes, which is probably why I like uphill finishes. If you make a little mistake and you've got good form you can still make it up.


Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under

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