TDU

Rapido Guide: Tour Down Under Stage 6

Course:

This year’s Tour Down Under will once again sign off with a criterium race around the streets of Adelaide, promising an exciting finale to 2016’s edition. Minimal technical demands and only slight rises during each lap, Stage 6 is set to be a showdown amongst the fastest men remaining at this race.

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Contenders:

Caleb  Ewan is in flying form right now and is certain to be the man to beat here given his recent showings and great team support. Leading the challengers set to test the young Australian is Wouter Wippert, the Dutchman finishing third behind Ewan on the first stage. While the likes of Ben Swift and Giacomo Nizzolo are still present, the stage does not suit their ability to dominate a difficult sprint, so instead Adam Blythe gets our nod as an outside bet for stage honours.

Outcome:

1st Caleb Ewan 2nd Wouter Wipper 3rd Adam Blythe

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Rapido Guide: Tour Down Under Stage 5

Course:

Simon Gerrans will feel confident of securing another overall win at the Tour Down Under given his current standing, only a serious disaster could scupper such hopes on Stage 5. The 151.5km stage will find its focus placed upon the infamous Willunga Hill, being tackled once, before then finishing the day’s racing atop its summit. The Category 1 ascent is 3km in length and averages 7.5%, but it does fluctuate somewhat from the opening slopes to the decisive upper gradients.

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Contenders:

Sergio Henao is clearly the best placed rider to not only take the day’s stage honours, but also overturn the deficit to Simon Gerrans and take the leader’s jersey. Domenico Pozzovivo has already demonstrated encouraging form at the Tour Down Under, though the nature of Willunga Hill might not suit his skills perfectly. Perhaps an outsider such as Julián David Arredondo might even get the better of the tactical battle amongst the obvious favourites and steal Stage 5 from the major contenders.

Outcome:

1st Sergio Henao 2nd Domenico Pozzovivo 3rd Julián David Arredondo

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Rapido Guide: Tour Down Under Stage 4

Course:

Sprinting should once again be on the agenda to decide the outcome at the Tour Down Under, but it is uncertain who exactly the finale will favour. Stretching 138km from Norwood to Victor Harbor, the day’s racing is rolling for the most part, but it is the inclusion of the Category 2 Kirby Hill which is bound to have the biggest impact upon the outcome. At 4km long and averaging 5.6%, it is sure to blunt some sprinting hopeful’s speed before the finish and even reaches 10% towards the summit. Just under 20km will remain once completed, instigating a frantic chase to the line, tackling a couple of lesser bumps en route to the finish as well.

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Contenders:

Giacomo Nizzolo suits today’s challenges particularly well, the Italian being one of the most proficient climbers amongst the sprinters, but his current form has not yet cemented enough thus far to back him wholeheartedly. José Joaquín Rojas might find himself sprinting against teammate Juan José Lobato on Stage 4 instead of combing their efforts, as Movistar often allow the two to contest such stages separately. Regardless of the questions this tactic raises, Rojas fits the bill well today and will feel confident of being in the shake up for the win; his condition looks promising right now too. The most in form rider right now who could compete for stage honours here is Caleb Ewan, the young Australian is riding imperiously so far this year and has the riders at his disposal to guide him into the finish perfectly.

Outcome:

1st José Joaquín Rojas 2nd Giacomo Nizzolo 3rd Caleb Ewan

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Rapido Guide: Tour Down Under Stage 3

Course:

The Corkscrew climb returns once again to the Tour Down Under in 2016, offering us the first true insight as to those earmarked for general classification contention. Stage 3 is relatively short, only taking 139km to complete in total, but has the rolling terrain to drain the legs steadily throughout. All focus will be upon the pivotal ascent of the Category 1 Corkscrew climb, the 2.5km drag to the summit has an average gradient of 8.8%, but does hit double digits at times. Its summit appears a little under 6km from the finish and it is then a downhill run straight to the line, ensuring a rapid finale to Stage 3 looks certain.

TDU Stage 3

Contenders:

Rohan Dennis evidently considers himself to be in competitive form off the back of yesterday’s showing and has all the requisite skills to attack over the Corkscrew climb and solo to the line. Sky will look to Sergio Henao today, hoping for him to stretch his legs and deal damage to his rivals on the Category 1 ascent; he also possesses a strong sprint when in an elite group. The diminutive Domenico Pozzovivo should have a great chance of competing strongly here, the gradients are suiting and he may discover the freedom required to slip off the front.

Outcome:

1st Domenico Pozzovivo 2nd Rohan Dennis 3rd Sergio Henao

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Rapido Guide: Tour Down Under Stage 2

Course:

Stage 2’s rolling terrain and uphill finale should favour those blessed with the strength and speed to sprint up to the line in the final few hundred meters of the race – the puncheurs cometh. The short 132km stage is based predominately around five city circuit laps, the first of which begins after around 25km have been completed. The long drag to the line should kick plenty of the pure sprinters down the pecking order, so a change of race leader seems likely after Stage 2 is over.

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Contenders:

Juan José Lobato has one here before at the Tour Down Under and he should have a great chance of repeating this once again in 2016; the Movistar rider usually possessing a good amount of form during the early races of the year. Diego Ulissi is another former winner of the day’s uphill finale in Stirling, a man who normally flourishes on this type of terrain, though he has struggled somewhat in recent years to demonstrate such talents as convincingly as we are accustomed too. Blighted by misfortune and injury during last year, Simon Gerrans is bound to have an eye on taking early glory in 2016 by winning today’s stage finale in Stirling. Despite having not won here already, Gerrans’ performances have been consistent on this finish and with his team eager to retain the leader’s jersey for another day, there is a great chance he will finally win.

Outcome:

1st Juan José Lobato 2nd Simon Gerrans 3rd Diego Ulissi

TDU

Rapido Guide: Tour Down Under Stage 1

Course:

A brief 130.8km jaunt from Prospect to Lyndoch kicks off the 2016 edition of Australia’s biggest race the Tour Down Under. Heading out from the Adelaide outskirts, the day begins with some gruelling terrain from the very start, the opening 12.8km leading uphill to the top of the Category 2 Lower Hermitage climb. Once completed, there will be only rolling roads leading to the day’s finish, comprising three rotations of a city centre circuit; 26.9km in length each time. Without a single bend to tackle with 5km remaining, the opening stage is sure to be a drag race to the line and a sprinter seemingly certain to take the leader’s jersey on the first day.

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Contenders:

Given his recent performances in the build-up to this curtain raiser, Caleb Ewan is the clear favourite to take the first win at his home race. There is no doubt that the hard start will impact upon his chances, but given his age; strength and endurance can only improve from here onwards. Giacomo Nizzolo is no thoroughbred sprinter, but on days with such a difficult start and possessing a strong team at his disposal, he has a great chance of featuring in the mix for the win. Matteo Pelucchi has fantastic support heading into this race and demonstrated in 2015 how difficult a man he is to close down when afforded a clear run at the line; his form remains questionable however.

Outcome:

1st Giacomo Nizzolo 2nd Caleb Ewan 3rd Matteo Peluchhi