Every year in January, the cycling world shifts its focus to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under and the first WorldTour race of the season 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 Old Willunga Hill climb.
Old Willunga Hill Profile
Distance - 2.9km
Gradient - 7.4%
When you think of the Tour Down Under, you think of Old Willunga Hill. The famous climb takes place on the penultimate stage of the Tour Down Under and produces a Tour de France type crowd and atmosphere.
The climb is a steady one and aside from the solid gradient, there are no surprises or steep sections that will catch you out. Old Willunga Hill is certainly a climb tailor made for guys like Simon Gerrans and Rohan Dennis: not pure climbers, but strong powerful riders. The climb is split into three distinct sections that soften in gradient as you ascend.
The first kilometre of the climb is approximately 9% gradient and if you don't pace yourself through this early section, you'll pay for it later. The second kilometre eases slightly to approximately 7% but is a steady drag and gives you no respite. The final kilometre is by far the fastest section of the climb with a gradient of 6% and plenty of painted slogans on the road to let you know the end is close. The climb is over once you pass the enormous yellow painted crown on the road.
Richie Porte holds the record for the climb at 6:39, but no one else comes close to that time.
The Old Willunga Hill climb is very open, offering little to no protection from the elements. As a result, your time will largely depend on the strength and direction of the wind. The open nature of the climb also means it can get extremely hot, so be prepared with enough water, food and electrolytes.