22 January 2016
It is not comparable to the Galibier in France or the Angliru in Spain. The top is never covered in white clouds, neither will there ever be snow. You cannot even call it a mountain. It is more of a hill. It is 2,7 kilometres long. With an average of 7,4%. The road to the top starts in the village Willunga, in the southeast of Australia. The old Willunga Hill Road. The name already says it. Willunga Hill.
Willunga Hill has been one of the highlights of the Tour Down Under for several years now. Battles between riders have taken place here. Fights for the first position. Willunga Hill determines who will win the Tour Down Under.
Willunga Hill is one of the reasons that a sprinter cannot win the Tour Down Under anymore. The legs of a sprinter were not made for this hill. One time maybe. But most years, the hill has to be climbed twice. It goes up steady, but with already four hours on the bike, the hot sun, the need for more water, Willunga Hill is one tough hill to beat.
Hundreds of Aussies will be along the road, holding up a plastic kangaroo or waving with the Australian flag. Cheering for every Aussie that comes by on a bike. Maybe some people will camp out there the whole day. Tomorrow is the big day. The queen stage. Stage five will end on the old Willunga Hill.
© Stefano Sirotti