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Tour Down Under: Top Picks for the Overall GC

The Santos Tour Down Under is the first UCI Worldtour race of 2024. It is an exciting start to the racing season. The race is from January 16th  to January 21st and will consist of six stages. So far, there have been three stages with a handful of GC contenders eyeing the top spot. Let’s delve into the teams, the riders, the race, and see who has what it takes to win this year’s first Worldtour race, the Tour Down Under.

Tour Down Under Logo

The Teams

This race marks the first opportunity for the WorldTeams to show how well prepared they are for the race season. With new riders, there is a bit of unpredicatability. Now is the time to see how winter training has paid off.

All of the WorldTeams will be participating in the Santos Tour Down Under as well as the ProTeam Israel – Premier Tech and the Australian National team, many of who come from the Australian UCI Continental team, Team Bridgestone, as well as the ProTeams Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team and Tudor Pro Cycling Team.

The Race

Stage 1

The first stage started and finished in Tanunda. It was 144km in length and had 1381 meters of climbing.  The course consided of three loops and finished in a large group sprint. There were two sprints and and three category 4 climbs up Menglers  Hill. Sam Welsford of Bora – hansgrohe came out on top, edging out Phis Bauhaus from Bahrain – Victorious and Biniam Girmay of Intermarché – Wanty

Stage 2

Stage 2 started in Norwood and finished in Lobethal. This 141.6km stage was like the first. It was a hilly stage that consisted of 2269 meters of climbing. There were a total of three category 2 climbs, the largest being Ashton, a 10km climb averaging a 4.3 percent gradient. It was won by a 0.8km solo by Isaac Del Toro riding for UAE Team Emirates. This took him from 40th overall after the first stage to 1st in the overall GC. Riders Corbin Strong of Israel – Premiertech gained 2 places after a second place finish, making him second overall. Girmay Binian of Intermarché – Wanty  maintained third overall, and Stephen Williams  finished third in the stage, accerating him to fourth overall.

Stage 3

Today  marked the 3rd stage  of the race.  Just like the first stage, this one was too finished in a large group sprint. Amazingly, Sam Welsford of Bora – hansgrohe won his second stage, edging out sprinters like Elia Vivians of Ineos Grenadiers and Daniel Mclay, of Arkéa – B&B Hotels. The stage took riders from Tea Tree Gully to Campbelltown. The course was hilly and consisted of multiple climbs like Tea Tree Gully Hill, a  1.9km climb at 6.2%.

Mount Lofty

Stage 4

This 136.2km stage will go from Murray Bridge to Port Elliot. This fast course will have only 575 vertical meters of climbing and will likely finish with a sprint.

Stage 5

This stage is geared towards the climbers. There will be 129.3km of racing with 1437 meters of climbing. Riders will tackle Willung Hill, a 3.4km climb at 7.3% and a 200+ meter final climb to the finish.

Stage 6

This is the ultimate stage of the Tour Down Under. It will be from Unley to the top of Mount Lofty. The sage will consist of 4 climbs, three up Mount Lofty and one to Windy Point.

Tour Down Under

The GC Contenders

Isaac del Toro

This UAE Team Emirates rider is the number one pic for this year’s Tour Down Under. He is currently first in the overall GC. This 20 year old rider is from Mexico, and this year marks his first year as a WorldTour rider. His specialty is climbing, which will be useful for the final two stages of the race. Before joining UAE Team Emirates formerly raced for the club team, formerly of A.R. Monex Pro Cycling Team.

Diego Ulissi

Diego is a well known Italian rider. Also of UAE Team Emirates, Diego is an 8 time winner of the Giro d’ He has accomplished a lot in is cycling career, and at the age of 34, he has the experience to know how to win. He is currently ranked 30thoverall, just 11 seconds behind first.

Corbin Strong

Corbin is currently second overall in the race, just two seconds behind our first pick, Isaac Del Toro. He races for Israel Premier Tech. He is an experienced New Zealand rider who specializes in sprinting and one day races. In 2023, he got second overall in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian is a French rider with 10 years riding for WorldTeams. He has won the World Championships in the Men’s Road race twice and is known for his uncanny climbing ability. He has won six Tour de France stages and won the KOM in the 2018 Tour de France. He races for Soudal – Quick Step. Just like Diego Ulissi, he is only 11 seconds behind first, which is not a big gap considering the amount of climbing to go.

Jhonatan Narvaez

He is an Ecuadorian rider who is entering in to his 7thyear as a WorldTour rider. As of the end of stage 3, he is 10 seconds behind Isaac Del Toro. He is an INEOS Grenadiaers rider is equally skilled in climbing and one day races.

Girmay Biniam

Girmay is the final pick to win this year’s Tour Down Under. This Eritrean rider is from Intermarche – Wanty is also a climber and stage winner of the Giro d’

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