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Tour Down Under champion Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) has called on incoming race director Stuart O’Grady to add a time trial to the event’s 2021 edition.
“I’ve already asked Stuart O’Grady next year to put the freeway in as a time trial, an uphill time trial,” Porte said Sunday after winning his second title. “I think the race could really benefit from that.”
O’Grady takes the helm as race director of the Tour Down Under after Mike Turtur’s 22-year tenure came to close at the end of this year’s race. In an interview on the Seven Network after the final stage, O’Grady said that several riders had suggested possible changes to the route next year, including a time trial up Adelaide’s South Eastern Freeway.
For many years the freeway has been used in the opening kilometres of Tour Down Under stages, taking riders away from the city and into — or over — the nearby hills. There have long been calls for the addition of a time trial to the Tour Down Under but no such stage has featured in the race’s 22 editions so far.
Bringing time trial bikes to a race so far from the sport’s European heartland would cause significant headaches for team staff. Instead, any time trial would likely be ridden on regular road bikes.
Also among the suggestions for the 2021 Tour Down Under is a proposed visit to Kangaroo Island. Located roughly 100 km south west of Adelaide, the island has been ravaged by fire this summer. It’s suggested that a visit from Australia’s biggest race could help to provide some relief.
So far, nothing has been confirmed for next year’s edition of the Tour Down Under. An official route announcement is expected in July.
While Porte would like to see changes to the Tour Down Under route, he believes there’s a lot to love about Australia’s biggest race.
“I think other races should maybe change to be more like this,” he said. “Why not? I mean, [we’re] in the one hotel all week, the crowds are huge. Maybe they should take the time bonuses away — it’s not been great — but I don’t think they need to change anything.
“It’s a well-organised race and it’s always a pleasure to race down in Adelaide.”