Stage 5: McLaren Vale - Old Willunga Hill
Cameron Meyer says...
The stage is a little bit longer this year which will be telling every time. When you go over Willunga the first time there's going to be more kilometres in the legs coming around for the second time for the finish so that could be a factor if it's a really hot day.
It will be interesting to see how the race is run up Willunga. I would think that most teams that have a climber that they think can win the Tour that the first lap they'll go quite hard; they need to put the sprinters under pressure so they're not there the second time up the hill.
I won't be surprised if the two laps around the hill circuit at full tilt and the race blows apart. The winner will come within the last two kilometres on the hill. You've got the first kilometre quite steep and the first big move will happen and the Tour will be won from there.
Matt Goss says...
This will decide the race and is the most important stage. I think if someone like Sanchez or Valverde really go up here they can put enough time into most of the peloton to win the race. A lot depends on the days before. Hopefully, from my perspective we can split it up a little bit more and have bigger time gaps in the bunch from the wind and time bonuses but from a GreenEdge perspective we've got a lot of guys who can be good on this stage also.
With the time bonus it does suck a little bit but without the time bonus it would bring the race finish to within 5 seconds if that on the last stage. A sprinter needs 25 seconds. Someone like Valverde can take 20 seconds. I'd want 30 seconds up my sleeve before this stage. I think that's going to be difficult to do because you'd need to win every stage bar one on the way. You have to be able to climb and limit your losses on this climb.
Last year there were maybe 11 or 12 of us that went over the top together but then we got another 10 or 15. If you get three guys up there that can win the GC, they'll start to look at each other which can play into the sprinters hands a little bit. We're not going to be racing each other. We've all got the common goal to be as close as we can. A perfect scenario for us is that a couple of guys get up the front and they argue about the lead and what's going to happen so that brings us back a bit. If you get somebody who's not on GC and you get someone who wants GC then you're going to get them working perfectly together and they're going to take the time out of us which will make it more difficult to win.
It's not all about the climb though, you've got this big beach road and a lot of cross winds all day so you can really split the race up or make the race hard before you get to Willunga which is probably what the teams without a climber will try and do.
Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under
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