June 16, 2013

Tour of Australia: stage 12

stage12-2
It’s less than two weeks until the 100th edition of the Tour de France begins, which got David Blom and I thinking: what would an Australian Grand Tour look like?

We’ve put together a course for a three-week race that takes in some of the best roads in the country in an attempt to create cycling’s fourth Grand Tour: the Tour of Australia. We’re currently revealing one stage per day in the lead-up to Le Tour and we’re up to stage 12.

Route: Bright to Albury
Distance: 175km
Climbing: 1,080m

Click here to see the route on RideWithGPS, including the KOM and intermediate sprint points.

After finishing stage 11 atop Mt. Hotham the teams and the Tour caravan will transfer to the beautiful alpine town of Bright. You could argue that Bright is the cycling capital of Victoria, particularly if you like climbing, and it only seems right that a Tour of Australia stage would visit this popular town.

Rolling north west out of Bright along the Great Alpine Road the riders will enjoy a flat start to stage 12. The road barely rises in the first 30km to Myrtleford at which point the riders will contest an intermediate sprint point before turning right and heading north east.

There’s a long but gradual rise on the way to the quaint historic town of Yackandandah from which the riders continue north east towards the tiny township of Tangambalanga. After contesting an intermediate sprint here, after 93km, it’s on to Tallangatta at which point the riders take a left-hand turn and follow a small bridge over Lake Hume.

After 120km of racing and after crossing the bridge the riders head west along the shores of the lake and take on a couple of 2km-long uncategorised climbs. The first of these climbs is on a 7.4km long unsealed section of road but if the Tour were to happen, it’s not unreasonable to expect this road would be sealed specifically for the race.

After descending back to the shores of Lake Hume at the 150km mark, which, at this point is also the Murray River, the riders head north and into New South Wales for the first time in the Tour.

stage12

Just over the border, in the tiny community of Bellbridge, the riders take a left over a stunning little bridge. From there it’s only 20km to the finish in Albury and apart from a couple of short rises just after the river crossing, the run in is virtually all flat.

The stage finishes in the centre of Albury, in front of the old post office on the corner of Dean Street and Kiewa Street.

It’s hard to see this stage ending in anything but a bunch sprint, despite the two short climbs roughly 40km and 30km from the finish. They’re both about 2km at 5% which isn’t insignificant, but with plenty of time for dropped sprinters to get back on terms, it’s bound to be a stage for the fast men.

Then again it’s the sort of stage that might suit a bold breakaway attempt on one of those two short rises. Imagine Fabian Cancellara throwing everything at the first climb, hitting the second climb with a small group behind him, cracking his pursuers at the top of that rise, then time-trialling into Albury for the win. Kinda like he did in the Tour of Flanders earlier this year.

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Stay posted for stage 13 of the Tour of Australia, coming tomorrow.

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10 Comments

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  1. Michael / Jun 4 2014

    Why not include the recently resurfaced Stanley Back Road that you’ve recently written up? Travel to Yack via Beechworth

  2. Ryan / Oct 22 2013

    Darwin may be our corsica

  3. LoftyWinds / Jun 17 2013

    Ahh. In case no one has mentioned, Australia is more than just 3 states. How about some of the excellent roads in Qld, WA and NT? If the real tour allows for their riders to fly around France, we can surely accomodate all of Australia?

    • Matt / Jun 17 2013

      No doubt! But as we said in the opening post, this is just one of many potential routes!

    • David / Jun 18 2013

      It took the Tour 100 editions to visit Corsica…

  4. David / Jun 17 2013

    A flat stage in an area that is postiviely full of mountains?! Blasphemy!

    The interview that Matt did with Matt Clark earlier in the year on the site gives a good guide as to what is around the area. Beechworth is a wonderful town and well worth the visit for both the history and the geology.

    For those who are mountain hunters and like a bit of climbing, I would recommend some of the following:
    Mt Barranduda http://app.strava.com/segments/797560
    Myrtleford to Stanley: http://app.strava.com/segments/1705782
    The Tallangatta Lookout: http://app.strava.com/segments/1006041
    Spring Gully Rd – Huon Creek: http://app.strava.com/segments/1360951

    There is also Mt Pilot, Mt Granya and a host of lakes and rivers.

    • Robert Merkel / Jun 17 2013

      So are you the rotter who beat my Strava KOM on the Lookout climb? :)

      Not to deny the terrific climbing in the area but there are also some absolutely sensational flatter roads, too. The northern part of the Omeo Highway, for instance, has long flat stretches along the valley floor – but unlike, say, Beach Road, you very rarely get any wind.

  5. Callum / Jun 16 2013

    Funny, I was riding along that dirt section of Lake Road just last weekend. Smoother than some of the bitumen roads out around Lake Hume.

  6. Ant / Jun 16 2013

    Home territory, and a very good course set! It must be hard fighting the temptation to chuck in every single climb – there are a couple that could really spice up this stage. Take a minor detour from the Myrtleford-Yack Rd up the new paved climb to Stanley, and then detour via Beechworth on the way back to Yack. Very hard to miss the Granya Gap climb as well (about 4km on the southern side, KOM at the Firebrace Track intersection maybe?) and approach Bellbridge along the northern arm of Lake Hume. While this road looks flat(tish) on paper, it is rolling and undulating, it has broken many a rider with a few hundred km in their legs, and could be just the tonic to let a stronger GC rider slip away – out of sight, out of mind after all. The flat drag along the Riverina Hwy into Albury will provide some exciting closing km.

  7. Josh / Jun 16 2013

    Doesn’t need to be sealed! A bit of rough lends flavour to any grand tour. Who could forget the encrusted face of Cadel Evans, winning stage 7 of the 2010 Giro d’Italia?

    A shiver went up my spine when you turned north. You realise, I hope, if they don’t transfer to Melbourne at some point for a Beach Road TTT or final stage that ends with a sprint for the St Kilda BP, you are going to get lynched and probably hung from the Black Rock clocktower at 7am on a Saturday*.

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