The best roadside spots to catch the perennially excellent Women’s race
Words: James Raison
Images: Santos Women's Tour Down Under
Unfortunately the Women’s Tour Down Under (WTDU) will not be televised but the good news is that the race is quite accessible to those on the ground in Adelaide. Stages can either be ridden to directly from the city, reached by public transport, or handily in the city itself! You could drive but that’s no fun, so we’ve put together a guide of how to get to stages, and where could be some cracking places to watch.
We’ve got a full WTDU Course Guide for you to take a look at too.
Stage 1 - Hahndorf to Birdwood - Thursday 10th
This isn’t going to be an easy stage to catch the start and finish by bike unless you’re willing to ride swiftly and pile up quite a few kms by day’s end.
Those wanting to see the start and just have a nice day out on the bike are in for a treat. Your first task is getting to Hahndorf and we’ve put together afairly direct route to get you there. Go grab it from Strava if you’d like. After a couple of race neutral laps, the race zips straight out of Hahndorf and North East. It’s only 30 km to the finish line in Birdwood if you want to head there via the lovely towns of Balhannah, Woodside, and Lobethal. There’s plenty of time for that between 10 am race start and 1:46 pm expected race finish.
From Birdwood the best way home is through Gumeracha and down Gorge Road.
Stage 2 - Nuriootpa to Menglers Hill - Friday 11th
This is a tough stage to watch without piling up close to 200 km on the bike. So, I recommend hopping on a train from North Terrace in the CBD and rumbling out to Gawler. That puts you just 34 km-ish from the start line in Nuriootpa where you can watch the race roll away, It does a lap of the region before heading out to Eden Valley - the furthest it goes from the start point - then rolls back through all the towns again. This gives you plenty of options to hang out in Nuriootpa, or roll over the Angaston, before riding 10 km or so to catch the summit finish on Menglers Hill.
This is a gastronomically-driven region so you can plan out and have a damn nice day watching racing and cafe cruising. Then just hop the train and zip back into the city. Easy!
Stage 3 - Nairne to Stirling - Saturday 12th
Now yer cookin! This is my pick as the best stage of the race for the spectators. It finishes on the lovely cafe and retail strip of Stirling that’s just 15 km from the CBD and reachable by the fabulous Old Freeway bike route.
The race starts at the furthest point from the city so you’d have to be very keen to get all the way out there before charging back to catch the end. With all the best roads and places to watch in the back half of the race, I recommend going straight to the finale.
This is probably your only chance to catch a bike race going up Aldgate Valley Road - one of Adelaide’s hidden treasures - which it does twice. The first time it turns down Longwood before looping back up Aldgate Valley Road again and flying up to Stirling. The uphill drag to the finish has produced some stellar finishes in the men’s race so expect fireworks at the line. Once the race has wrapped up, it’s an easy roll back to the city, or you can do some more riding in the area.
Stage 4 - Adelaide - Sunday 13th
This stage needs little instruction; it’s a criterium around the Eastern Parklands on the edge of the CBD. This is more about what you can do leading up to the event.
The first and obvious advice is to go for a ride in the morning! Then get back to the city by early afternoon and you can catch the Treadly/La Velocita MAKER festival where you can enjoy some killer Aussie brands displaying their wares. It has everything from frames to kit to clap your doting eyes upon.
The women’s stage begins at 2:40 pm and the men’s race kicks off at 4:45 pm.