The 2021 Santos Festival of Cycling will roll out of Seppeltsfield Wines in the stunning Barossa Valley for the Ziptrak Stage 1.
Seppeltsfield Wines framed by a stunning vineyard backdrop, will start race-neutral before the eager peloton could explode once they tackle the gruesome Mengler Hill in reverse. However, men’s race Director Stuart O’Grady doesn’t expect Mengler Hill to be a breaking point.
“Taking away the steepness of the western side with a much easier eastern side climb will give the punchy riders a small chance to attack on the final of four ascents,’’ O’Grady said. “But with a super-fast downhill and run into Tanunda, it will be tough to hold off a fast peloton.”
Women’s Race Director Kimberley Conte agreed claiming the category 3 Mengler Hill climb shouldn’t dash the General Classification hopes of some riders.
It isn’t so difficult that it will take riders out of contention, but don’t underestimate the sting it may have on day one,” Conte said.
As the stage rolls past the iconic winery, new gin distillery and the family mausoleum, the terrain looks relaxed, but the riders won’t be. After a start/stop season due to COVID-19, the teams have only recently begun racing within Australia and to start their 2021 season by racing on some of the classic TDU stomping grounds, expect to see a few nervous and disheveled riders.
Once the flag drops outside of Tanunda, there isn’t much time before the first sprint of the day in Tanunda, and with both bonus time and additional prize money awarded be prepared to see the teams bring up their sprinters early on.
Don’t count out the climb though, progressing up the back side of the classic Mengler Hill (finish location twice for the women’s race) this Cat 3 climb will be a perfect launching pad, particularly with the screaming descent back into Bethany and Tanunda before the second sprint.
Fans can expect an exciting bunch sprint finish at Faith Lutheran College, Tanunda.
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