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7th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.HC
Australia, January 18-23, 2005
Itchin' to feel the rush
By Nisa Schebella in Adelaide
Back in the familiar surrounds of the Adelaide Hilton Ballroom after a brief sojourn to the Italian Club in 2004, the South Australian Premier, Mike Rann launched the seventh edition of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under on July 21, 2004 to a crowd of around 200 guests and media. Featuring some old favourites and some new innovations, the 2005 race will tour the Festival State, or to some the state of Wine and Roses, from the January 18 to 23.
Introducing the race, Premier Rann said, "The Tour Down Under gets bigger and better every year. It's worth millions to us… more and more interstate and overseas tourists are coming to watch the race each year. Last year 450,000 people were standing out along the side of the roads around the state. Fifty hours of television coverage overseas showing some of the most beautiful parts of our state… 2005 promises to be even bigger and better than ever before."
An innovation in 2005 is the race starting in the northern suburb of Salisbury. Once a working class and housing-trust suburb with a high crime and unemployment rate, the area, which is undergoing residential beautification and infrastructure development, is known for its stately gum trees and is Premier Rann's own electorate. "I'm delighted there is going to be stage in Salisbury which will be a fantastic turn out I believe from the people in northern suburbs," said the Premier.
"I'm also really pleased how [the race] is developing in reputation around the world, there is incredible interest in the Tour Down Under now in Europe, cyclists are talking about it and want to come here, as you could see from the video. We in South Australia do festivals better than anyone, and this will be a great festival of cycling," he added.
In fact, there will be copious opportunities for visitors to gorge themselves on 10 days of cycling excitement. As well as all the normal razz that goes with the 'Jacob's Creek' - such as the men's and women's criterium series, the South Australian classic veterans' series, and the Be Active Tour - South Australia will host the national road championships over three days from the January 12 to 15.
The nationals parcours will traverse 13km of the beautiful Adelaide hills around the town of Echunga and event organisers expect to attract up to 200 of Australia's top elite and under 23 riders all vying for the white, green and gold.
Running alongside the last two days of the Tour Down Under, the 2005 Jacobs Creek Ride to Cure Diabetes challenges riders to raise a minimum $3500 for this needy cause while riding around the stunning Barossa Valley on January 22 and 23. See www.jdrf.org.au for more information.
In off-the-bike JCTDU attractions, Legends Night is back with some old timers and some legends in the making. In 2004 over 400 people enjoyed stories and moments with the lads, and in 2005 there's once again the opportunity to enjoy a great dinner in the company of top riders.
Of course Club Tour, the Tour Village and the Great Aussie BBQ on the last stage are all back again too, as well as the competitions for towns and businesses to get into to the swing of things and jazz up the place!
Tell us about the race!
Okay the race itself - 2005 stage by stage. The 2005 JCTDU sticks to the previous successful formula, with no addition of elements such as a time trial or any big mountain challenges. According to race director Mike Turtur, the riders are his guide in designing the race and that means the inclusion of a time trial is not on the cards. "There has been some suggestions of a prologue time trial," Turtur told Cyclingnews, "but if you look at all the opening events in European tours they don't include them because of the time of year. The other implication with the time trial for the teams is the extra equipment they'd have to freight and most importantly is [explaining the time trial to] the public and having the infrastructure timing wise and display wise, which is an enormous cost. We need to conform to the requirements of the teams at that time of year."
Stage One is the traditional East End Street Race with 25 laps around the 2km circuit. Sprint points are up for grabs at the 20km and 40km mark just near the finish line. 2005 will not see a repeat of this year when the tailenders were lapped and confusion reigned in the final lap. Race organisers have adjusted the points allocations to ensure that the stage winner will go home in the yellow jersey. Points will be allocated for intermediate sprints but there will be no time bonuses.
Stage Two starts its 150km day in the northern suburb of Salisbury at the spunky new town centre and heads north to Gawler. It then loops back south towards Williamstown for an immediate sprint, east to Forreston for a climb up Smith Hill at 64km, another sprint at Mt. Pleasant, then back north for a feed at Springton and on to Angaston, Nuriootpa, Greenock, Seppeltsfield and finishing in the Barossa township of Tanunda. The Be Active Tour will also follow this route prior to the race start. Look out for Ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews in lycra!
Stage Three goes back to the beach when the race begins in Glenelg. In a first for the JCTDU, riders will head south down the Southern Expressway. According to Mike Turtur, " There's always difficulty getting out of the city limits and the Southern Expressway offers that guaranteed exit from Adelaide under controlled and safe conditions without any problems of traffic." The Southern Veloway tracks the Expressway so riders will be able to follow the race closely, and there are plenty of great overpasses like Honey Pot Road to get a birds-eye view and take a few snaps. Once off the Expressway at Huntfield Heights the race snakes up Main South Road to Sellicks Hill for the only KOM sprint at around 44km. From there the race turns back at Myponga reservoir (no mention of dirt roads this year) towards Mt. Compass for the first Points Sprint and then for the first time tackles the Goolwa Road moving south for a feed and onto Goolwa for the second Sprint in Cadell Street. Then it's along the coastal route of Middleton, Port Elliot and into Victor Harbor. From Victor Harbor the race swings north towards McCracken Fauna Park and around through the picturesque Inman Valley, then back into Victor Harbor from the west to complete the 139km stage. As in the past, a great place for fish and chips, a chilled bevvy and a bike race.
Stage Four starts on the pavé as usual at King William Road, Hyde Park. Expect to see a whole lot of bloodshot eyes watching the riders sign on due to the legendary Unley Street Party the night before. Make sure you take a visit to the annual Art of Cycling exhibition at The Print Bin as well. The 152km stage has a few changes in 2005, the most striking being a diversion off the freeway at Mt Osmond and up the old freeway road which features the famous Devil's Elbow - look out for Irene the little Ozzie Devil there jumping up and down. This presents a much better chance for locals to view the race than from the freeway and a reasonably sharp climb to start the day. Then it's onto Echunga via Stirling, Aldgate and Mylor for the first sprint points and north to Mount Barker and Hahndorf. From the schnitzel and sauerkraut of South Australia's founding German settlement the race travels to Woodside and then in a big loop north to Checker Hill for the day's KOM classification and then back south again via the feed zone in Gumeracha. Woodside has its second visit for the day and a sprint to boot then its back towards Hahndorf for the finish.
Stage Five repeats the popular 147km Willunga loop circuit of recent years also including the women's criterium as last year. It's a great Saturday out; the race loops three times so there's plenty of action to see. There are sprint points available on laps two and three at Snapper Point and the race climbs Old Willunga Hill or Jonker Hill as it is affectionately known. The race starts and finishes in Willinga and is often a decisive stage in the final race outcome.
Stage Six concludes true to tradition in the streets of Adelaide around the Adelaide Oval and River Torrens circuit. The 81km finale moves like lightning 18 times around and up Montefiore Hill with KOM points up for grabs on laps ten and fifteen. The sprint competition concludes with points available on laps eight and twelve at the start/finish line and of course the final crossing. Always plenty of jostle and bustle on the last with leading teams trying to control the race and other riders trying their luck on the last day for stab at a stage win.
For more details and bookings see the official website at www.tourdownunder.com.au.
2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under stages
2004 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 2003 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Ag2R 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 Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com