CYCLING: Santos Tour Down Under starts the 2019 UCI World Tour

Elia Viviani (ITA) wins Stage 1 of the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under (Photo: Santos Tour Down Under)

It’s time for cycling again, with the six-stage Santos Tour Down Under starting up in Australia and roaming in and around the Adelaide area.

It’s the 21st edition of the race, which started in 1999 and has been a fixture at the start of the season, joining what became the World Tour in 2008. The stages:

Stage 1: 15 January: North Adelaide to Port Adelaide (129.0 km)
Stage 2: 16 January: Norwood to Angaston (149.0 km)
Stage 3: 17 January: Lobethal to Uraidla (146.2 km)
Stage 4: 18 January: Unley to Campbelltown (129.2 km)
Stage 5: 19 January: Glenelg to Strathalbyn (149.5 km)
Stage 6: 20 January: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5 km)

All of the stages are considered hilly, but none with real mountainous climbs.

Australians have won 12 of the first 20 editions, with Simon Gerrans victorious four times. However, a streak of four straight Australian winners – Gerrans, Rohan Dennis, Gerrans and Riche Porte – was stopped by South Africa’s Daryl Impey.

Former winners Impey, Porte, Dennis, Cameron Meyer (AUS: 2011), Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP: 2005) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED: 2013) are all in the field, along with former medalists Diego Ulissi (ITA: third in 2014) and Jay McCarthy (NZL: third in 2017).

The hottest rider in recent history has been Porte, who has finished 2-2-1-2 in the last four editions. Look for results here.

The first stage went to Italy’s Elia Viviani, whose sprint finish carried the day in Port Adelaide. Summaries:

Santos Tour Down Under
Adelaide (AUS) ~ 15-20 January 2019
(Full results here)

Stage 1 (129.0 km): 1. Elia Viviani (ITA), 3:19:37; 2. Max Walscheid (GER), 3:19:47; 3. Patrick Bevan (NZL), 3:19:47; 4. Michael Storer (AUS), 3:19:47; 5. Jakub Mareczko (ITA), 3:19:47. Also in the top 25: 14. Kiel Reijnen (USA), 3:19:47.