Tour Down Under 2024: stages, dates and favorites of the first race of the year

Road 16/01/24 06:00 Migue A.

The starting gun has been fired for the World Tour, but not for the 2024 season which has already seen some minor races. However, the lands of southern Australia will once again be the stage where the best teams in the world seek to shake off the cobwebs after several months of competitive inactivity in a Santos Tour Down Under that will take place between January 13 and 21.

The 2024 season gets underway

The surroundings of the Australian city of Adelaide will once again be the stage, one more year, of what is considered the official start of the road cycling season, taking advantage of the excellent summer temperatures in the southern hemisphere.

However, it is not the start of the season since a few days ago the Australian Championships were held in which an inspired Luke Plapp achieved the double by winning both the time trial and the road race. Meanwhile, in neighboring New Zealand, the New Zealand Cycle Classic, a 5-stage 2.2 category race, is being held these days.

However, if we talk about top-level competition, indeed, the Tour Down Under is the debut for the World Tour squads over its 6 stages with a design that maintains the traditional line in this race, offering routes without excessive hardness in which the cyclists can get acclimatized in their return to competition.

Stages Tour Down Under 2024

The competition will start on Saturday, January 13 with the Down Under Classic, a criterium on an urban circuit of just 1.35 km through the streets of Adelaide that serves as a mere warm-up for the competition as it does not count for the general classification of the Tour Down Under. The race has a curious format similar to what we are used to in cyclocross since the duration of the race will be 1 hour of clock to which 3 more laps to the circuit will be added once that time is completed.

We will have to wait until Tuesday 16 when the Tour Down Under itself begins with a stage of 144 kilometers, on a circuit around the town of Tanunda which will be lapped three times. The circuit is marked by the ascent to Mergiers Hill, a gentle climb located 14 km from the finish line but with a maximum ramp of 14% where someone could try to break the predictable sprint.

The second partial between the towns of Norwood and Lobethal covers a similar distance although, this time with a more broken layout in which the double ascent, in the two laps to a final circuit, to Fox Creek, with its 8.8% average slope will allow to see if the climbers of the peloton have done their homework during the winter. In any case, its summit is far from the finish so it should not prevent another of the usual sprints with which the stages of the Tour Down Under are decided.

The third, on the other hand, does offer a route even less demanding than the previous ones in its 145 km route between Tea Tree Gully and Campbelltown. Something similar happens with the fourth partial layout, this one, totally flat of just 136 km and finish on the coast in the town of Port Elliot.

Both stages are the calm before the last two days. The first of them, the usual queen stage, despite the last one being harder, the finish at Willunga Hill of the fifth stage has become a hallmark of the Tour Down Under thanks to its steep ramps that reach 15% and that are a perfect place for the "uphill finishers" to inaugurate their palmares.

For the last day another route is reserved that is becoming typical and that faces a final circuit with a triple ascent to Mount Lofty, a climb of about 10 kilometers to a not negligible, at this stage of the season, 7.3%, in other words, a full-fledged climb that in its triple chain, the last one with the finish at its summit, will serve to finish deciding the general of this Tour Down Under.

Favorites for the Tour Down Under 2024

Participation a little more modest than on other occasions in this Tour Down Under 2024, as usual with a significant roster of fast men and cyclists who seek to be ready for the first European tours and the start of the classics season.

Without a doubt the most relevant cyclist among those taking part in this Tour Down Under will be Jullian Alaphilippe, who will seek to start the year on the right foot after two seasons practically disappeared. Among the cyclists of greater name we also find Simon Yates, the only non-Australian in the 7 that presents Jayco AlUla who, on the other hand, has Caleb Ewan as a fast man to dominate the first stages.

And it is that the sprinters find in the Tour Down Under an ideal terrain in which to show off their power. Apart from the Australian pocket rocket, we find among the participants names like that of a Biniam Girmay who had a 2023 in which he went unnoticed after his promising 2022, Phil Bauhaus on behalf of Bahrain-Victorious as the most significant sprinters.

The powerful squad that INEOS Grenadiers presents stands out, in which it has included Filippo Ganna, ready to prove that he is more than a time trialist and quality cyclists like Jonathan Narváez or the promising Joshua Tarling.

Also competent is the seven of Movistar Team with a variety of profiles to cover the multiple situations of an atypical race like the Tour Down Under, among which are names like Iván García Cortina, Ruben Guerrreiro or Gonzalo Serrano.

How to watch the Tour Down Under 2024

As usual, Eurosport will take charge of the broadcast of the Australian race, although the radical time change with Europe, which means that the end of the stages around 6 in the morning will force us to get up early to follow the competition.

The only problem with the coverage that Eurosport offers this 2024 is that, the coincidence with the Australian Open tennis, to which the channel gives priority, prevents the broadcast on channels 1 and 2 so only those subscribers to the platform will be able to follow live the Tour Down Under of which, on the other hand, no reruns are scheduled at more mundane times. Those who watch Eurospor 1 and 2 only, through other television platforms will be left without the possibility of following the test through this channel.



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