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January 21, Stage 5: McLaren Vale - Willunga Hill

Tour Down Under: Stage 5 preview

Four-time Tour Down Under stage winner Baden Cooke says...

"This is the main stage, the queen stage, of the race. Once again, it can be very windy in the first part of this race along the beach there. Depending on which way the wind is coming from, it can really split there and obviously it's a long way to go, but this stage is always extremely tactical. Lead-outs coming up the first time up Willunga from teammates about to peel off are like a bunch sprint. Most leaders will have two or three guys stay with them the first time over Willunga and then keep them in position until the second time.

"Simon Gerrans has had great fortune on this stage, he's not a climber but he knows how to gauge his effort fairly well and it's stage he has done very well on. Depending on the wind, if it's a headwind up Willunga Hill, then expect someone like Gerrans to win. If it's a tailwind up the hill, expect someone like Richie Porte to win because that's when the lesser climbers don't have much of an advantage. It's a very tactical stage, it's very exciting and the heat also plays into the outcome and everyone knows they have to be positioned at the front.

"For the fans, you can go and park yourself down in Willunga and see those guys come past three times on the big lap. Then you can walk up the hill and see them come past the first time, then get to top for the finish and you would have seen them five times. It's the most iconic stage in the race."


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