24 Jun 2024

DEFINITIVE ELEMENTS OF THE RACE 

Classic territory
The curtain-raising Down Under Classic criterium is heading back to where it all began. Get set for an East End circuit in a nod to our very first race, and relax along Dequetteville Terrace, Bartels Road, East Terrace and Rundle Road as the world’s best are put to the test. Local bars and restaurants will be ready to welcome fans – or bring a picnic and enjoy the spacious Rymill Park. This opening contest is always a spectacle, and its sprint finish in a milestone year is sure to be extra special. 

Hello Gumeracha
One new race element comes into play on Ziptrak Stage 1: the first finish hosted by Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. Riders will arrive in this historic hamlet – home to artisan produce and family fun – after a 150.7-kilometre stage whose challenges include more than 2500 vertical metres. Vineyards, farmland and gorgeous native landscapes are set to feature on this stage, though riders will be focused squarely on positioning for a fast fight to the line.  

Willunga Hill – but not as we know it
Willunga Hill has featured since the very first Santos Tour Down Under, but always as a climb. During Think! Road Safety Stage 5, though, riders will tackle their first descent of this local landmark. Pure power isn’t the priority here, but rather the capacity to maintain high speed while negotiating a series of technical turns.  

The peloton will see much more of Willunga Hill on this stage too: climbing it at the 123-kilometre mark after passing through the township of Willunga, followed by another slog to a high-stakes hilltop finish.  

Day six in the city
Schwalbe Stage 6 will unfold in the heart of Adelaide – a nod to the city finales that featured between 2015 and 2018. A primarily flat circuit will offer climbers respite, though sprinters are sure to have a big closing-day victory on their minds. What better way to celebrate 25 years of Australia’s greatest cycling race?

DOWN UNDER CLASSIC
Saturday 18 January 2025

At a glance
An old-school crit with milestone year energy. That’s what awaits as we welcome fans and riders back to Adelaide’s east for the ultimate hour of power. The Down Under Classic last took place here in 2013 and was won by André Greipel. Its return will begin on Rundle Road and travel clockwise to Dequetteville Terrace, Bartels Road and East Terrace. In the centre is Rymill Park, offering plenty of vantage points for the spectacle. 

Finish 
Riders will take a sweeping right-hand turn on to Rundle Road and sprint hard for the line with the city skyline behind them. It might not count towards Santos Tour Down Under standings, but be assured: victory in the Down Under Classic makes one hell of a statement.

ZIPTRAK STAGE 1: PROSPECT TO GUMERACHA
Tuesday 21 January 2025

At a glance 
A 150.7-kilometre stage for the sprinters is up first. From Prospect riders will head north to Williamstown, tackling Gorge Road at Paracombe as their opening climb of the day before turning back towards the Adelaide Hills. It’s the first stage finish in Santos Tour Down Under history for Gumeracha, with the peloton to pass through the town twice and return for a furious push to the line. 

Sprints
The day’s first Ziptrak sprint is slated for Williamstown and will be contested at the 40.9-kilometre mark – about a third of the way through this opening stage. Riders’ second chance to earn points comes outside the National Motor Museum in Birdwood after 100.5 kilometres have passed. 

Climbs
While this stage favours sprinters, there’s ample uphill to test those new-season legs. Case in point? The category two Gorge Road at Paracombe. It extends over 2.2 kilometres and has an average incline of five per cent, reaching a spicy 13.3 per cent in places. Look for it about 12 kilometres after the end of race neutral.  

Next comes the Berry Hill climb at Cudlee Creek. It’s the shorter of the two, at 1.4 kilometres, but has a higher average incline of 6.9 per cent. This ascent will make two appearances: the first with about 77.9 kilometres of the stage complete, and the second 30 kilometres from the finish. Conquering it in good shape for a last effort will be sprinters’ priority.  

Finish
Cyclists are set to charge into Gumeracha from the east, passing its popular Big Rocking Horse to their left while storming home. The finish arch will be placed just beyond the town’s oval, setting up a spectacle in true South Australian style.

HEALTH PARTNERS STAGE TWO: TANUNDA TO TANUNDA
Wednesday 22 January 2025

At a glance
Day two in the saddle will take riders on a 128.8-kilometre loop through the Barossa – a region that featured when the Santos Tour Down Under made its 1999 debut and continues to host pivotal stages. Vantage points abound: gather at Tanunda to see the start and finish, at Menglers Hill for three tough climbs, or beneath the palms outside Seppeltsfield Wines as the peloton zips past twice. There will be little time for riders to relax, however, and careful strategy at play as contenders position for the finish.

Sprints 
Both sprints on this second stage will be contested in the heart of Greenock – a community that proudly showed its support for the Santos Tour Down Under when riders visited last January. The first chance to earn points comes after 31.2 kilometres of racing, while the second follows about 50 kilometres later.  

Climbs
In the relatively flat Barossa there’s just one climb that counts. The category one Menglers Hill is set to make a return on this undulating stage. Particularly notable is that riders will tackle the 2.73-kilometre ascent from its steeper west side, used strategically here to challenge the sprinters. A maximum incline of 12.2 per cent will sting, with 6.9 per cent the average incline. 

Pass one comes early – just 8 kilometres after the peloton leaves Tanunda – and will be followed by return visits at 57.3 and 106.7 kilometres respectively. Wind on this stage may prove decisive: headwinds help keep the bunch together, while a tailwind could see an attack break loose.

Finish
A weary pack will return to Tanunda for what promises to be a fast finish. There’s nothing technical about the long, straight approach – all the better for setting up another epic fight to the line.  

EFEX STAGE THREE: NORWOOD TO URAIDLA 
Thursday 23 January 2025

At a glance
This one is going to hurt. Cyclists have 147.5 kilometres of work to do on efex Stage 3, nominated by race director Stuart O’Grady OAM as the toughest stage in a milestone year. Action begins in cosmopolitan Norwood – hosting its 17th stage start – and then moves up to Norton Summit before continuing further into the Adelaide Hills. Balhannah, Hahndorf, Lenswood and Ashton are among towns set to welcome the riders, while sharp twisting turns and a formidable amount of uphill effort look likely to shape a definitive day in the saddle.

Sprints
The day’s first green jersey points are up for grabs on Adelaide Road in Echunga, a sprint that comes at the 39.1-kilometre mark. A second opportunity follows along Greenhill Road at Uraidla once 112.4 kilometres are complete. This latter sprint comes less than six kilometres after riders’ first ascent of Knott’s Hill up Pound Road – putting the peloton’s fastest men under pressure and demanding that climbers time their attacks to perfection. 

Climbs
Going deep will be mandatory as cyclists navigate three category one climbs. Norton Summit is up first. It stretches over seven gruelling kilometres, offering an average gradient of 4.3 per cent and hitting a maximum of 20 per cent. Fans know how much pain this classic climb can inflict, but what’s less clear is how the new Knott’s Hill ascent near Ashton will impact the peloton. Its first appearance comes at 106.7 kilometres and follows a scenic but demanding run in through Basket Range. Riders will travel a total of 2.6 kilometres and reach a top incline of 22.2 per cent, with 7.5 per cent the average. Then to the finish? Not so fast. It’s back to Knott’s Hill for yet another uphill effort, this one wrapping up just five kilometres from Uraidla. Get ready.  

Finish 
Crowds at Uraidla will see the peloton race through once before the stage finish, and are likely to witness an epic effort as the day is decided. Riders will make a left turn on to Greenhill Road before taking on the final two kilometres. 

HAHN STAGE FOUR: GLENELG TO VICTOR HARBOR
Friday 24 January 2025

At a glance
The men have 157.2 kilometres of work to do on Hahn Stage 4 – their longest day in the saddle during this latest edition of the race. On the agenda: a start in beachside Glenelg, followed by a scenic route that traces the coast while heading south to finish in Victor Harbor. Look for a pass over the Myponga Reservoir wall and an ascent of Nettle Hill in Hindmarsh Valley, the same climb that split the pack and proved pivotal during the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under. A fast finish beside the ocean at Victor is all but assured, and a post-stage swim might even tempt riders too!  

Sprints
Cyclists’ first chance to earn Ziptrak sprint points on day four comes at the 34.4-kilometre mark. Aldinga’s Snapper Point will host the action. Next is a sprint on Main South Road through the heart of Yankalilla, with this latter push set for 70.9 kilometres in. More than half the stage is still to tackle once sprinting concludes, including two tough climbs.  

Climbs
Over 86 kilometres will have passed when riders make their first major ascent of the stage: category two Parawa Hill. It covers 2.9 kilometres, with a brutal maximum gradient of 16.7 per cent and an average of seven per cent. From there it’s a rolling journey towards Hindmarsh Valley and the category one, 1.9-kilometre Nettle Hill. The sting here will come from an average incline of 8.1 per cent, topping out at 15.6 per cent. Look for stage contenders to attack, moves that could deliver the day’s win and even a GC shakeup.

Finish 
Victor Harbor has seen every kind of Santos Tour Down Under finish, from Baden Cooke’s 2007 win amid pouring rain to Andre Greipel making the seaside town his own while notching up a record 18 stage victories on Australian soil. In this 25th year we return to the Esplanade and invite a new champion to come forward. Riders will race down Armstrong Road before a sweeping left-hand turn on to George Main Road and a 500-metre battle to the line. 

THINK! ROAD SAFETY STAGE FIVE: MCLAREN VALE TO WILLUNGA HILL
Saturday 25 January 2025

At a glance
Vineyards. Coastline. Bushland. The 145.7-kilometre Think! Road Safety Stage 5 explores it all while also insisting that climbers vying for overall victory show their cards. Action begins in McLaren Vale – heart of this celebrated wine region – and will see riders travel north on a loop through McLaren Flat. They’ll tackle Wickham Hill while en route to the top of Willunga Hill, then race down its slopes for the first time in Santos Tour Down Under history before heading to the Aldinga coast for two Snapper Point sprints. The final third of this stage will be defined by two ascents of Willunga Hill, and the chance for a champion to emerge. 

Sprints
Aldinga’s Snapper Point will host both Ziptrak sprints on our fifth stage. The first comes 56.1 kilometres into racing, while the second is due to take place after almost 100 kilometres are logged for the day. Following this latter sprint riders will head towards Willunga Hill and prepare for the showdown that awaits on its slopes.

Climbs
They’re going down Willunga Hill. They’re going up (twice). And they’re also contesting another major climb for good measure. This fifth stage offers climbers ample opportunity to go big. The first chance to earn efex King of the Mountain points comes at the category one Wickham Hill in McLaren Flat, which extends over three kilometres and hits a maximum gradient of 13.3 per cent. Its average is 6.9 per cent – more than enough to fatigue early-season legs.  

From there attention turns to Willunga Hill and the chance for a new champion to emerge. All Santos Tour Down Under fans know the pain this ascent can inflict: its three kilometres of incline reach a quad-busting 15.6 per cent maximum gradient, with an average of 7.4 per cent. Pass one is slated for the 123-kilometre mark, while the second – starting at 145.6 kilometres into the stage – will be riders’ final push for the day. Buckle up.

Finish 
Willunga Hill has featured in the Santos Tour Down Under since the very first edition. Now, as we celebrate 25 years of Australia’s greatest cycling race, it looms again as a major test for any GC contenders. The closing portion of this fifth stage is climbers’ last chance to make their move ahead of a flat city finale the next day. 

SCHWALBE STAGE SIX: ADELAIDE TO ADELAIDE
Sunday 26 January 2025

At a glance
Riders will gather for this final day of racing with general classification honours all but decided. The stage win, though, is another thing entirely. Schwalbe Stage 6 is set to take the peloton south along King William Street and past the City of Adelaide Tour Village. They’ll turn at Gilles Street, then continue to cross the Torrens and take the sharp left on to War Memorial Drive. Montefiore Hill and its city vistas will feature before the descent back to King William Road and the start of another six-kilometre lap. 

Finish 
While there are no Ziptrak sprints or efex King of the Mountain climbs on this final day of racing, look for the peloton’s fastest riders to come to the front ahead of the finish. They’ll take the corner of Pennington Terrace and King William Road at speed before launching for the line.

Read our guide to the 2025 Women's Stages.

 

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