Santos Tour Down Under 2024 – Stage 5

Willunga Hill. Let’s dive into it.


The start looks hilly. It is. We could see a breakaway get up the road, Matthew Holmes once fooled everyone. I think there will be plenty of teams willing to secure a GC day.

We have Willunga Hill on the menu. A big test. It clearly shows the difference between who is in form and who is not. For some it is a goal, for others merely training.

There are a few ways to approach this. Hang on, hope to outlast your opponents. Or simply smash it from the bottom and distance everyone. Despite the test it is, it is no longer than seven minutes for the very best. Best option is too attack early and hope the legs carry you.


A nice tailwind on Willunga Hill. It will suit the climbers.

How will the stage unfold?

UAE are in the race-lead. They have a mighty good team to protect the jersey and they will have the numbers after the first ascent. After rewatching stage 2, it doesn’t look like Alaphilippe will be strong enough to contest for the win here. Plapp is out, another showing legs that day. They will leave it up to Yates. Then there is INEOS. Narvaez seems to be starting the season off very well. We have to look to Jayco – AlUla or INEOS Grenadiers for the main move.


Isaac del Toro – race leader. First WT race. The youngster can climb too. I read he dropped back on stage 4 to test the legs. He is ready for the test. With the margin he has, he will try to defend the jersey. The question is if he can?

S. Yates – we haven’t seen much to him. Luke Plapp leaving is a big loss for the launch at the foot of the climb. Chris Harper can do what Plapp was meant to do. It means attacking early as there is one helper left. Can anyone follow him?

Narvaez – is going well just now. Usually, I would think of him as a puncheur but  Österreich-Rundfahrt 2023 tells me otherwise. He will fall short but he will be in contest or the podium.

Guerreiro – if he carries the same early-season form as in 2023, he too will be one of the main men tomorrow. I don’t think he is good enough to win but he will be knocking on the podium.

Vader – am I buying into the hype? Maybe. But he can do a climb like this very well. It is not as steep as he would have liked but he had a very impressive performance at Gree-Tour of Guangxi 2023, winning on a similar climb.

Haig – on paper one of the best climbers here. He has been hiding well, not showing his current level. I think he is good enough to challenge for a top result tomorrow?

Who will win?

There should be one superior rider tomorrow. Simon Yates.

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