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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf


5th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 21-26, 2003

2002 Results    Stages & Results    Start List    Past winners

Preview

By Anthony Tan

Michael Rogers, 2002 winner
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

The 2003 edition of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under commences and ends in the city of Adelaide, the capital of Australia's best-known wine State, South Australia.

While the wine farmers have been growing grapes in places like the Barossa Valley for decades, the TDU - as it is commonly known - is in its fifth year, its relative newness belying its stature within the eyes of seasoned European professional teams and riders who continue to flock to sunny Adelaide each January.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators, both local and overseas, will line the streets as the race kicks off with a 50 kilometre criterium around Adelaide's East Park Lands, a technical two kilometre circuit that will determine the first wearers of the 2003 TDU leaders' jerseys.

Unlike previous editions, the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under heads north early on to the Barossa Valley for Stage 2, a decisive stage through native bushland, stone bridges and 19th Century architecture - not to mention the brutal climb of Menglers Hill. This year is again slightly different in that there is just one ascension of Menglers, although a strong group of 5 to 10 riders should still have a good chance at staying away with the climb located only 35 kilometres from the finish in Kapunda.

Stage 3, the longest stage of the tour at 164 kilometres, begins on the coast in the beachside town of Glenelg. A short climb to Checker Hill in the first 40 kilometres should test the legs as the peloton winds its way east into the Adelaide Hills. The rest of the day is characterised by undulating terrain, with two intermediate sprints at Mt. Torrens and Balhannah, concluding with two laps of a 10 kilometre finishing circuit around the early German settlement town of Hahndorf.

The race continues along the coastline on Stage 4 to the Fleurieu Peninsula. Those riders high on general classification will most likely use this stage as a "rest" day - although stranger things have happened in previous editions. A short climb just 11 kilometres from the stage finish will certainly keep those serious about winning the race on the lookout all the way to Goolwa, with the sprinters' teams also vying to keep matters under control in the final kilometres.

On Saturday, January 25, the penultimate and by far the most popular stage of the Town Down Under, is held in the region of Willunga. Unchanged from previous years, the first 120 kilometres is essentially comprised of three 40 kilometre circuits of the famous wine growing region, finishing with a 20 kilometre circuit that includes the climb of Old Willunga Hill around 10 kilometres from the end. Last year, then newly-crowned Australian Champion, Robbie McEwen, began his steamrollin' streak of success, winning his second of four stage wins in the TDU.

The race comes back to the Adelaide streets for the finale on Australia Day, a 90 kilometre circuit race consisting of 20 laps of a 4.5 kilometre circuit. For what is normally a relatively easy day in most other major tours, the TDU has more than once come right down to the wire on the final day. Dual TDU champion and local hero, Stuart O'Grady, won by a mere two seconds from German Kai Hundertmarck in the 2001 edition, with fellow Australian Michael Rogers protecting an equally slim lead of 22 seconds to win his first ever major tour in last year's edition.

With a high standard of racing, impeccable organisation and that famous Adelaide hospitality, the event feels very much like a mini-Tour de France - 'though that unique Aussie accent won't keep you guessing for long...

Past Winners

2002 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport  
2001 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
2000 Gilles Maignan (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance
1999 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole