Stage 5 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill
Saturday 23 January, 151.5 km
You could probably just cut and paste the stage preview from last year. Or the year before that. And use it again in 2017 for that matter. Because frankly this day has grown to become such an outrageous success there’s surely no way Mike Turtur would ever dare to change it. As always the Queen Stage will start amidst a carnival atmosphere on the main street of McLaren Vale, before completing a series of circuits past the corporate marquees of Main Road and the notoriously windy Snapper Point beachfront.
The day culminates with two pressure-charged ascents through the cacophony of noise on Old Willunga Hill Road, punctuated by one exhilarating plunge down Penneys Hill Road. How important is this stage in the grand scheme of things? Well despite Richie Porte’s best efforts it didn’t quite decide the overall winner last year. But in 2015 the top six riders on the stage did fill the first six places on final GC.
(Peter Maniaty has been providing us with the previews each day and they feature in this months Bicycling Australia Magazine, Jan-Feb 2016.)
Simon Gerrans will wear the ochre coloured jersey two days in a row. Going into the Willing Hill stage Gerrans and his team will have to stay vigilant to protect his lead.