Santos Tour Down Under 2023 – Stage 1

With the prologue hugely impacted by the weather, tomorrow could be impacted by a climb. Nonetheless, I think it is safer to say we should see a reduced bunch sprint.

The stage has 2053 climbing meters.

The route

There is not much to say about tomorrow. We have Menglers Hill five times with KOM points at the top twice. It is near the top the climb gets tougher with the last 1.1 km at 5.1%. It should not be too difficult for the sprinters.

The descent afterwards is quite easy too.

The finale

A long run in with a cross-tailwind, before heading into a tailwind sprint. No fuzz about it.


It will keep raining down under throughout the night, but in the morning the roads should by dry from 11:50 – 15:30 local time.

The riders will face a headwind of 5 m/s going up the climb, which will likely make any attack neutralized. That means the wind will come from the SW. It will not be very hot either, with temperatures around 20 degrees Celcius.

How will the stage unfold?

Some Aussies will get up the road and fight for the KOM jersey. I think EF and the teams with a sprinter want to work for their sprinter, especially with the tough headwind on the climb. Now, we have two intermediate sprints. I can not find the roadbook for this race – their website is as efficient as their skill to show time stamps in a prologue. I assume from the previous editions there will be 3, 2 and 1 bonus seconds on each one. I do not think EF want them and I don’t think the sprinters want them. All the juicy points should be taken by the men in the break.

It will be a sprint.


Caleb Ewan – The home favorite for tomorrow. We know from sprinters that they can get a lot better once they start rolling and their morale is high. He won Schwalbe Classic after starting his sprint as the first rider – and no one was fast enough to overtake him. Well, that is a good tactic since he does not have the best of support, and he has not had his luck surfing wheels the last few years. The finale is quite simple, which is good for him too. It will be all about not starting his sprint from 10th position.

Kaden Groves – the young sprinter is having a good start to the season and he had an impressive prologue today. With Jensen Plowright as his lead-out, it is not the best in the world. It is a very inexperienced train. Last year, his biggest problem was getting in the right position before the sprint. Given his current form, he should easily be a podium contender.

Phil Bauhaus – he had the best lead-out in Schwalbe Classic which is a big surprise. Usually, Bahrain – Victorious sends him to races with six climbers and imagine he will do well by himself and he usually does. Arndt, Gradek, Scott and LLS can all pull their turn when it comes to the lead-out. It does look very strong. On Saturday, he was hesitating. Tomorrow is another good chance.

Jordi Meeus – he was second on Saturday and it could have been more had he not been boxed in until the last 100 meters. With Haller and Archbold, he probably has one of the most experienced lead-out of all and that is a big advantage, but once again, it will not be as important with a simple finish to the stage tomorrow. He will be tough to beat – he is one the quickest riders here.

Gerben Thijssen – he is faster than you think. He beat some big names last season in Tour de Pologne (it was a very chaotic sprint) and later in the season at Gooikse Pijl. He will be having a great team to support him, with Page, B. Van Poppel, Johansen and a few others to support him. He has the best team around him tomorrow.

Coquard, Hayter, Matthews, Bevin & Hoffstetter to fill out the remaining five spots in the top-10.

Who will win?

Tomorrow is all about top speed, we will see a sprint. I will go for Meeus, he looked very fast in Schwalbe Classic and it about the power tomorrow in a tailwind sprint.

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