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by Matt de Neef
November 22, 2019
Photography by Con Chronis
The 2020 men’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour will include summit finishes atop two of Victoria’s most iconic climbs: Falls Creek and Mt Buller.
The 67th edition of Australia’s oldest stage race returns to north east Victoria and will again be contested over five stages.
The opening stage is a mostly flat race from Nagambie to Shepparton that could be affected by crosswinds. Stage 2 takes the riders from Beechworth to Falls Creek, concluding with a 30km climb to the ski resort. Stage 3 starts in the popular cycling destination of Bright before an early climb up Tawonga Gap and a likely sprint finish in Wangaratta. Stage 4 starts in Mansfield and concludes with the 15km climb to the top of Mt. Buller. The final stage is a circuit race around Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
It is the first time that Falls Creek and Mt. Buller will be raced in the same edition of the Sun Tour. Falls Creek last featured in 2017 when Damien Howson won the stage and went on to take the overall victory. Mt Buller last featured in 2008 when the stage was won by now-multiple-time-Australian-cyclocross champion Chris Jongerwaard, ahead of now-four-time-Tour-de-France-winner Chris Froome. Stuart O’Grady won the race overall that year.
The inclusion of two mountain-top finishes means the race will almost certainly be won by a pure climber. That’s in contrast to this year’s race which was won by Team Ineos all-rounder Dylan van Baarle.
Dylan van Baarle, winner of the 2019 Sun Tour.
The Lexus of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun Tour, meanwhile, will again be raced over two stages in 2020.
Stage 1, held on the same day as the men’s opener, will start and finish in Shepparton in what is likely to be an opportunity for the sprinters. Stage 2 starts and finishes at Falls Creek, meaning a summit finish for the women’s peloton as well — the first for the newly promoted UCI 2.1 race in what will be its third edition. Lucy Kennedy won this year’s edition courtesy of a solo victory on the hilly stage 2 into Churchill.
The 2020 Women’s Herald Sun Tour will be held on February 5-6, 2020. The men’s race will run from February 5-9.