Santos Tour Down Under is back: route preview

December 25, 2022

Tour Down Under

Photo by Cor Vos

After 2 years of absence due to COVID-19, one of the most scenic races is returning to the Land Down Under. Richie Porte was the last winner of Tour Down Under, back in 2020, putting 25 seconds into Diego Ulissi and Simon Geschke. With COVID-19 creeping into a corner, the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under is making a comeback with slight changes.

With Tour Down Under being once again an opening race to an upcoming season, let’s see why you don’t want to miss it.

  • How long is the Tour Down Under? The race will go on for 6 days.
  • When is the Tour Down Under 2023? The race will start on the 17th of January and end on the 22nd of January.
  • How many stages will there be in Tour Down Under 2023? There will be a prologue and 5 stages.


Tour Down Under prologue

Tour Down Under will start with a short 5.5 kilometers prologue. Despite being short and flat, this course will test bike handling skills with numerous sharp twists and turns around the banks of the River Torrens. A bonus fun fact: there hasn’t been a single-time trial in the 24 years of the race’s history.

efex Prologue

efex Prologue

Tour Down Under Stage 1: TANUNDA - TANUNDA

With the Ochre jersey on the shoulders of the prologue winner, Santos Tour Down Under will kick off proper stage racing with nearly 150 kilometers day in an office. Despite Mengler Hill being tackled 5 times, a day should end in a sprint finish.

The first mountain classification points of the 2023 Tour Down Under will be given out on the 2nd and 4th accession of Mengler Hill, while 2 Intermediate sprints will be up for grabs at ~45 and 97 kilometers in Tanunda as well.

ziptrack stage 1`

Ziptrack stage 1

Tour Down Under Stage 2: BRIGHTON - VICTOR HARBOR

The longest 156 kilometers stage in the 2023 Tour Down Under. A day with 2400 meters of climbing over lumpy terrain. The first challenge will come at 45 kilometers mark, where riders will make their way up to the Myponga dam, then descend back to the coast. In the middle of the stage, cyclists will be greeted by 3 kilometers long Parawa Hill, which averages 7%, but features a 16.7% steep section.

After descending to Victor Harbor, riders will tackle a 2.5-kilometer long, 6.8% Nettle Hill, which peaks at 15.5%. A race-winning move might come on the crest of this hill, as it is 20 kilometers away from a finish line. Daredevil puncheurs will try to lay down a devastating blow to inattentive competitors and take a spectacular solo victory.

Mountain points will be up for grabs at kilometers ~88 and ~134, while intermediate sprints will occur early in the day - at kilometers ~34 and ~73.

Oakley stage 2

Oakley stage 2

Tour Down Under Stage 3: NORWOOD - CAMPBELLTOWN

The first proper day for climbers, with 118.5 kilometers and 2440 meters of climbing. Lowish cadence and low gears from the start as riders will peak at 9.5 kilometers long Norton Summit and continue rolling across lumps and bumps until 1 kilometer long, 9.4% Checker Hill at around 82 kilometers into stage 3. Afterward, more accents scattered over the map, until the Corkscrew climb.

The corkscrew climb is expected to be one of the decisive factors in the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under general classification. 2.3 kilometers in length at 9.2% and creeping up to 24.4% ramps will weed out riders suffering from fatigue and test cyclists’ bike handling skills on technical descent to the finish line.

Mountain points will be awarded at kilometers ~9.6, ~82, and ~111, while intermediate sprints will be up for grabs at ~29 km and ~69 km.

Hahn stage 3

Hahn stage 3

Tour Down Under Stage 4: PORT WILLUNGA - WILLUNGA

If you were hoping for Willunga hill on this one, I have to disappoint you, as this will be a flat 135.3 kilometers stage designed for sprinters to battle it out. The last 2.5 kilometers rise at nearly 3%, so all eyes will be on strong sprinters that have shown superb results on similar terrains, valid candidates could be Davide Ballerini or Caleb Ewan.

Despite being a flat stage, it will still offer mountain points at kilometers 53 and 94. Sprinters will test their legs for the finale at kilometers 71 and 113.

THINK! stage 4

THINK! stage 4

Tour Down Under Stage 5: UNLEY - MOUNT LOFTY

As is common in cycling nowadays, organizers want to wrap things up with a bang. Tour Down Under 2023 is not an exception as well. With 114 kilometers and 3131 meters of climbing on the menu, this will keep general classification leaders on their toes.

Riders will start climbing from a gun and after leaving Unley will make their way up to a 25 kilometers loop through the Adelaide Hills, connecting Summertown, Uraidla, Carey Gully, Bridgewater, Aldgate, Stirling, and Crafers. Said loop will be ridden 4 times.

Mount Lofty, Adelaide’s highest point, will be ascended 4 times. A climb is 1.3 kilometers long at a 7.3% average, with the steepest pinch being 13.3%.

Mountain points will be available at kilometers 34 and 86 and intermediate sprint points will be awarded after passing arches at kilometers 11 and 67.

Schwalbe stage 6

Schwalbe stage 5

Wrapping up

The 2023 Tour Down Under will be a spectacle to behold. With the racing calendar returning to long-awaited pre-COVID times, this year’s edition promises to be a moment to remember – an emphatic start to the new UCI WorldTour season.

Who are the top contenders for this year’s Tour Down Under edition in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!


Really enjoyed this article? Support me by buying a cup of coffee!

cup of coffee

What do you think?

Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved.