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Tour Down Under winner to be crowned on Queen Stage in 2019


Australia’s highest profile cycling race – the Tour Down Under – will finish atop its most notorious climb for the first time next year.

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It will be the first time the men’s tour has not culminated in a bunched city circuit through the streets of Adelaide, with organisers instead opting for a Willunga Hill finish for the event’s 21st edition.

Race Director Mike Turtur released the route for the six-stage 2019 Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, the South Australian capital today.

Previously raced as the penultimate stage, the 151.5km three-lap course from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill in regional South Australia is a gruelling ride with a maximum elevation of 383m, and is considered the riders’ best chance to make up time.

Turtur said moving the Queen Stage to the final day added excitement to the race and meant the overall tour winner would likely not be known until the final climb.

“We have decided to mix it up and make Willunga Hill the grand finale and probably now the deciding factor of the race’s result,” said Turtur.

“Riders can now be 30 seconds down and still win … the race won’t be decided until the very last kilometre on Sunday.”

Tasmanian rider Richie Porte has won the Willunga Hill stage the past five years, each time securing a top five finish including a tour win in 2017.

The January 13–20 race will also return to Angaston in the Barossa Valley for the first time since 2014, while Port Adelaide will host its first finish in Stage 1.

The Challenge Tour, the Tour Down Under’s annual community event, has been moved from Friday to Saturday to allow more weekend riders to take on the 149.5km course from Glenelg to Strathalbyn on January 19.

Details of the women’s Tour Down Under, which is also a UCI World Tour event, will be announced next month.

The 2018 Santos Tour Down Under attracted a record 46,000 visitors and generated $63.7million, and is the biggest cycling event in the Southern Hemisphere.

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