Every year in January, the cycling world shifts its focus to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under. The first WorldTour race of the season is in its 18th edition and continues to grow in popularity with pros and spectators alike. In recent years, the Tour Down Under has incorporated some famous climbs around Adelaide that are now bucket list items for cyclists to tick off while they are in town.
We've profiled a few key climbs of the Tour Down Under that you have to ride if you are in town. Here is everything you need to know about the brutally steep Corkscrew climb.
Distance - 2.2km
Gradient - 8.2%
The Corkscrew is a famous climb of Adelaide and the Tour Down Under thanks to its steep switchbacks and reputation for bringing pro riders to their knees.
The first kilometre averages just under 9%, but that is only the start. The switchbacks are well over 20% and there are four in total. Believe me, if you ever do the climb more than once, you'll be counting them down.
The final 600m of the Corkscrew climb is a 'gentle' 6.1% average gradient, but feels like a flat road in comparison. As hard as it is to do with 20% gradients to contend with, to have a successful ascension of the Corkscrew, you need to have some power left in your legs for this final stretch. It's hard to make up time through the switchbacks because you are basically full gas to get through them, but if you can put the power down in the final 600m you could easily put 15-20 seconds into other riders (or your own PR).
A perfect example is of this was Cadel Evans' epic ascension of the Corkscrew on Stage 3 of the 2014 Tour Down Under. Evans and Richie Porte were trading blows through the steep switchbacks, but as the road flattened, Evans had the power and Porte didn't. Evans was able to put 15 seconds into Porte in the final 600m and went on to win the stage.
On that day, the average speed of Evans on the Corkscrew climb was 24.5kph. That type of speed is reserved for superheroes, Tour de France winners, and World Champions. For the rest of us mere mortals, it's straight into the smallest gear and pray you don't get hit with a headwind or any rain.