June 11, 2014

Tour of Australia 2014: stage 6

stage6
Inspired by the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, the Tour of Australia is a fictional three-week Grand Tour route created by David Blom and Matt de Neef to showcase some of Australia’s best cycling roads. This is the second year of the race and today we reveal stage 6 of the 2014 edition.

Route: Dubbo to Mt. Panorama (Bathurst)
Distance: 205km
Climbing: 2,310m

Click here to see the stage map and profile at Ride with GPS.

Stage 6 of the 2014 Tour of Australia starts in the city of Dubbo, home to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, before heading south east down the Mitchell Highway. It’s a largely flat start before the first intermediate sprint at Wellington, 50km into the stage.

The first of three categorised climbs for the day — this one a largely gentle fourth category ascent — peaks after about 68km and after descending off the climb the riders head south after 72km.

The stage profile shows a mostly uphill parcours from 72km through to the highest point of the stage after 177km, but it’s only a gentle rise that will be barely noticeable to the riders. There are a few lumps here and there, but nothing worthy of any KOM points and certainly nothing that will put any riders in great difficulty.

The day’s second intermediate sprint point comes after 144km, in the city of Orange, at which point the riders start to head south east towards Bathurst. There’s a 10km-long descent and a 2km, fourth category climb on the approach to the town after which the riders head for what is arguably the most famous location in Australian motorsport: Mt. Panorama.

The riders finish stage 6 with a lap of the circuit used in the famous Bathurst 1000 endurance race which includes a very challenging 2km stretch at an average of 8%, but with ramps well in excess of that.

From the top of that final climb (a second category ascent given its proximity to the finish) it’s just three kilometres to the end of the stage, all downhill and with a very fast run in to the finish.

stage6

This is a stage for the opportunists. A break will be allowed to get away early in the stage and, with all likelihood, it will be brought back on the approach to Bathurst, ensuring that the final climb up to Mt. Panorama will help decide the stage.

There will be a whole host of attacks on the hill with riders trying to get clear ahead of the final descent. It could be that a select group of five or so riders crests the hill together and brings it down to a sprint on the finishing straight. It’s the sort of finish that suits someone like Simon Gerrans quite well.

The GC riders will probably finish a little way behind the stage winner; minimising their losses but not contesting a stage that will have little impact on the overall.

The first of three rest days in the 2014 Tour of Australia follows stage 6, with the race resuming on the Friday.

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13 Comments

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  1. Barry / Jun 13 2014

    I’ve lived in Bathurst for 11 years. Have been bike riding for 3 years, but can’t climb hills so haven’t given Mt Panorama a try. The surface is amazingly smooth though, so would be good – a long term target when I harden up….
    There is some organised cycle club crit racing at McPhillamy Park on top of the Mount, the annual Blayney to Bathurst CycloSportif (B2B) finishes in the Pits at the bottom, and a couple of big races over the past few years have finished with a lap. But no organised, regular races use it as it’s an open road, with residents living on/around it and lots of tourists taking a lap.

  2. Dan A'Vard / Jun 13 2014

    The descent to Conrod Straight will be brutal, really steep, twisty and one for the brave I reckon. Awesome idea. Could this be Australia’s next one day classic? Or a Sydney to Bathurst one day race?

    • Matt de Neef / Jun 13 2014

      True that! Great to watch! Do you know if there’s any bike races on that circuit as it stands? Strikes me as a perfect location for a (very tough) race!

      • David Blom / Jun 13 2014

        Bike Racing at the circuit is quite a common and regular thing. As much as I love the nationals at Bunninyong, you could also imagine them being raced at Mt Panorama.

  3. MICHAEL CONDON / Jun 12 2014

    Thanks for the tour so far, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. All these places have a much warmer feel to them as I do my winter riding in Melbourne in the cold and I dislike the cold!

  4. Ryan Hylton-cummins / Jun 11 2014

    YES! as a lover of bikes and v8 racing this stage would be sick. A circuit finish on Mt Panorama would be tough, most of the lap is climbing or descending, kinda like a mini version of the nationals loop i guess.

  5. David Blom / Jun 11 2014

    The reverse lap of the race track is harder to do because it is a steeper climb that way, but going the same way as the cars do is the iconic way to go. The cars get close to 300kph, You would reckon that pros on the steep descent would get well into 3 figures. The real beauty of the Bathurst circuit is that it is a public road and can be driven/ridden on at any time of the year.

    I am sure that the Parkes Radio telescope (star of the movie “The Dish”) would get some TV time. There is also the Big Gold Panner in the town of Bathurst itself as Bathurst was the site of the first gold discovery and where the first gold rush occurred in Australia.

    Lake Burrendong and the Macquarie river would feature as the ride passes alongside.

    Mt Canobolas (1395m) near Orange is a fantastic place to ride. From Pailing Yards to the summit is a 30km climb at 3% average: http://goo.gl/maps/ssFwp

  6. Jono Lovelock / Jun 11 2014

    Brilliant Matt. Brialliant

    • Matt de Neef / Jun 11 2014

      It would be quite something wouldn’t it! It would be tempting to do a couple of laps of the circuit, if you could work out how to manage riders coming on to the circuit at different times. I guess a circuit finish is reasonably common though isn’t it, so a solution could be found.

      Apparently the Mt. Panorama climb is very tough with some very steep ramps.

      • Robbie Storey / Jun 11 2014

        the climb up from the entry to t2 all the way to the top of the hill is quite brutal. up to 16-17% grades from memory.. it will hurt the bigger boys of the bunch! – Spectacular idea…

      • Tom Reynolds / Jun 23 2014

        As someone involved in motorsport I can tell you that a lot of v8 drivers (and engineers. mechanics and indeed media support staff) give the mountain a red hot crack the week before the Great Race and it’s become a bit of a ritual for some. Arrive, ride a lap on the Tuesday/Wednesday, track walk Thursday etc..

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