Tour Down Under 2017 course guide

The 2017 Tour Down Under route leaves the race formula unchanged from the last few years: 150km-ish stages and a balanced parcours of sprints and up-hill finishes. Race Organiser Mike Turtur has little reason to change the World Tour curtain raiser. So what can you expect from the 2017 edition when it kicks off on 14 January?

Words: James Raison        Photos: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo


Stage 1 - Unley to Lyndoch - 145km

Course map

The first stage of rolls from the cafe strip of Unley Road, passing through the heart of the city, before cutting through the North-Eastern suburbs. At 20km in, the road will turn up with the 2.6km, 6% average gradient Black Top Road  followed a few kilometers later by the first KOM points on the 4.5km, 4% average gradient Kersbrook Road. The course undulates for its remainder, taking in 3 circuits around Williamstown, Lyndoch, Sandy Creek and Cockatoo Valley, with the grand finale in Lyndoch.

How the race will unfold

Stage 1 looks to be a guaranteed sprint finish. The last 3 km into Lyndoch are slightly downhill with a straight run-in. Expect the World Tour teams to be motivated to scoop up the first World Tour Points for 2017. KOM points before the 40km mark should liven up the stage early because there’s a guaranteed jersey and podium appearance for the first over the top.

Now, where’s that 55t chainring?

   Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo


Stage 2 - Stirling to Paracombe - 148.5km

Course map

Stage 2 blends well-worn sections of previous Tour Down Under routes into an intriguing new course. The peloton will start with the iconic circuits around Stirling, Bradbury, Mylor, and Aldgate. Traditionally these circuits host a stage finish, but this year they’ll deaden the rider’s legs early on. Following the circuits are some beautiful Adelaide Hills roads through Piccadilly, Uraidla, Ashton and down Norton Summit. The drag up Gorge Road delivers the bunch onto the up-hill finish of Torrens Hill Road. At 1.2km and 9%, it isn’t long but it’ll shake out the GC contenders.

How the race will unfold

Teams with GC contenders will keep any breakaway on a tight leash before the Gorge and Torrens Hill Roads tandem. Rohan Dennis setup his overall victory on Torrens Hill in 2015 with a well-timed slingshot move while the pure climbers were playing it cagey. The short, intense effort could throw up a surprise result for the stage, and the race overall.

   Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo


Stage 3 - Glenelg to Victor Harbor - 144km

Course map

The third stage from Glenelg to Victor is fast and flat, with only a couple of lumps at the Southern Expressway and KOM point on the Sellicks Hill drag. The course winds around to Victor Harbor where four short circuits will end with a seaside sprint finish. Plenty of straight, open roads are unlikely to have much of interest until entering Victor Harbor.  

How the race will unfold

On paper, this has sprint stage written all over it. The course isn’t hard enough to shake off the pure sprinters so expect them to fight it out. The GC teams will be keen to keep their men at the front too, as we saw last year the race can be won with time bonuses. It won’t be a simple finish though, there’s plenty of twists and turns in the final kilometers.

   Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo


Stage 4 - Norwood to Campbelltown - 149.5km

Course map

Friday’s stage 4 sees the race, and the several thousand-strong contingent of amateurs in the Bupe Challenge fondo, start and finish in suburban Adelaide. The stage begins with the 3.1km 6% Ansteys Hill and then wallops riders with Checker Hill Road, a 500m 14% average wall. The course rolls through Forreston, Gumerache, Birdwood, Williamstown and Springton before turning back towards the city. It’ll be a manic final with the scorching Gorge Road descent then turning onto Maryvale Road for the slightly up-hill finish.

How the race will unfold

This finish has thrown up a surprise breakaway victory before, with Jack Bobridge holding off the charging peloton in 2015. Another breakaway victory is possible, but it’ll be hard to out-fox the peloton this late in the race. The bunch will let the breakaway stretch their legs for the first half before reeling them in. Expect a savage turf-war at the front going down Gorge Road. It’s a fast, wide descent that always sees some suicidal riders taking big risks. Making the turn onto Maryvale at the front will be critical.

Look for a lighter sprinter to power up to the finish.

   Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo


Stage 5 - McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill - 151.5km

Course map

The Queen stage remains unchanged from the last year, with some seaside circuits followed by two ascents of Richie Porte Hill… errr… I mean, Old Willunga Hill. It’s a winning formula that gives scintillating racing every year. The 2.9km, 7% climb is no mountain pass but the pace is always savage. This is where the race is usually won or lost, Rohan Dennis is the only rider to start and finish the stage in this format wearing the leader’s ochre jersey.

How the race will unfold

The exposed and windy roads of the Fleurieu Peninsula always make for a nervous race. Breakaway battlers are in for a thankless struggle as the chasing pack will try and suffocate them before the final ascent. Richie Porte has taken three consecutive victories on Old Willunga Hill and he’ll be the favourite if he lines up again next year.

   Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo


Stage 6 - Adelaide street circuit - 90km

Course map

Adelaide’s streets will host the final stage of the 2017 race. 20 laps of the 4.5km circuit tend to be a sprint finish with no changes to the GC. There’s still plenty to race for as teams who haven’t impacted the race so far look to scoop up some points and TV coverage. There’s 20 ascents of the short and pinchy Montefiore Hill keeping the sprinters honest. King William Road is a spectacular setting for the race, and will gives a quick downhill run into the slightly up-hill finish.

How the race will unfold

There’s usually a flurry of attacks, counter-attacks, and breakaway riders abusing each other for not contributing on this final stage. It'll likely be in vain though, as everyone fights for the final World Tour points at the end of the stage. Positioning over the final ascent of Montefiore Hill is crucial to get the best run into the fast finish.

   Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo