The Santos Tour Down Under is set up for some great spectator opportunities, but it’s hard to go past Stage 5 for its sheer mix of scenery and convenience. Centred around the Southern Vales towns of McLaren Vale and Willunga, the stage also takes in the scenic foreshore esplanade past Aldinga beach. Many fans choose to set up camp in the main street of McLaren Vale, supplementing the carnival atmosphere with fine gourmet food and wine the region is famous for. The race makes five passes up the street but you’ll need to get there early to stake out a good spot.
If you’re more adventurous, and you have a car, it’s possible to park close to Aldinga and catch the first sprint stage – before dashing back for the first climb at Willunga Hill. Even if you miss the first climb, you can be there in time for the second one. Some of the best vantage spots are half-way up Willunga Hill, where polite photographers and excitable fans jostle for position and the chance to snap Lance Armstrong. Pull over on the main South Road and find a park by the roadside, it’s then just a simple matter of hopping the armco and negotiating a short, steep-ish track down to the Old Road that the race is run on.
Post race don’t forget to head into Willunga for the presentation, and of course, much needed refreshment at the famous Willunga Hotel!
The Santos Tour Down Under 2011 runs from 16 to 23 January.
3-5 High Street
South Australia 5172
This is a guest post by Dudley Fuxton, (very) occasional blogger at Adelaidewhen, ex B-grade amateur and enthusiastic armchair cyclist.
[Photo credit: Lance Armstrong climbs Willunga Hill in the 2010 Tour Down Under © Dudley Fuxton – All rights reserved]