For the past 20 years the Santos Tour Down Under has been Australia’s greatest cycling event, and its world television coverage of South Australia has been priceless.
Crews have captured scenes of our spectacular wine coast and the rolling hills of one of the world’s premier wine regions. This year some of the world’s best cyclists, and every-day riders in community events will also follow the trail through equally stunning territory.
The focus on the Fleurieu is even greater this year as it will host two of the six stages – including the prized finish at Willunga Hill on the Sunday, January 20, minutes before 3pm. It is the first time the TDU has not ended in the city.
Another bonus is 7000 or more every-day riders will wind through towns on the peninsula over four set distances in the Challenge Tour, all ending at Strathalbyn on Saturday, January 19.
Yet, for all this amazing attention on a city and its countryside that generally craves for a major event, apathy from small businesses in the main streets remains. It is true that in many instances crowds line them and when the bikes arrive they go ‘whoosh’ and seemingly before you know it they’re gone again – and so are the locals and tourists. The argument is that many small businesses suffer from the road closures and generally few people stop to smell the proverbial roses.
However, according to local business associations across the region the long-term positive impact cannot be ignored.
The 2018 Santos Tour Down Under, won by South African Daryl Impey from the Mitchelton-Scott team generated $63.7 million in economic impact. Since South Australia’s Stuart O’Grady won the inaugural TDU 1106 professional riders have covered over 16,024 kilometres and were watched on the roadside by 10.5 million spectators.
A potential audience of 1.087 billion have watched the race during its history, with 190 territories watching 882 hours of international broadcasting of the event.
Last year we had 810,000 spectators lining the streets of Adelaide and surrounding regions. More than 27,500 items of media coverage with a potential reach of 558 million people were generated.
A vast majority of shops and other small businesses – and every-day people – will dress the town and roads that connect them in vivid colour and cycling flavour throughout this incredible 1354km journey taking in the four-day women’s tour from Thursday, January 10, and the Santos TDU from Tuesday, January 15-Sunday, January 20.
Lyn Clark, president of Goolwa 5421, a vibrant group that works incredibly hard to promote all-things great about its town and surrounds, and runs a tourist shop River Dolls of Goolwa, believes we need to forget about trying to pin down a value on the day and look at the year.
“It’s the long-term arrangement,” Lyn said. “On the day you may not find it makes any difference, and in some cases it may be more difficult for a shop owner, but it’s the benefit that comes later.
“The names of Goolwa and the Fleurieu Peninsula are included in an event internationally and Australia-wide. The more people hear the names the better chance of them coming here later and buying something in our shops.
“There is similarity with the forthcoming Storm Boy movie… we are having the launch and the film will be running for whatever number of weeks, but the long-term effect is going to be felt for years.
“It is up to us as a tourism group and people involved in the industry or community to use that as leverage for promotion long-term. Someone buying a cup of coffee on the day is a bonus; not the purpose of the event.
“The race brings everyone out into the community. It never ceases to amaze me that a half hour before the riders charge through there is hardly anyone around in Goolwa. All of a sudden there are thousands and everyone is cheering as one. It is a community welcoming a tourism sporting group.
“Having a sprint means it is a quick visit, but even in that time you get the community coming together and saying, hey, this is our Goolwa.
“Yes, it’s hard to put a value on this, but the very fact that everyone does come out and support means that the community cares. As businesses, we need to look at that. When council makes a commitment to spend money on hosting a part of the event – and it’s not cheap – we need to embrace the occasion. There is long-term value.
“The advantage we have this is that this route is the community challenge. Thousands and thousands of riders are coming through Goolwa – perhaps some for the first time, and we hope not the last. We are a cycling friendly town and region with our trail to Victor Harbor so I think there is a fair chance they will come back, thanks to the Tour Down Under.”
Bert Heathwood has watched the past 11 TDU cavalcades ‘whoosh’ past his bike shop Oxygen Cycles in the main street of McLaren Vale, and every year leading up to the big stage he notes a profound presence of tourists.
Most small business may not see the benefit from the impact on the big day, or even realise the tourists are around, but Bert sees them – they’re the ones on bikes, and he says not just any bikes.
“We are talking about hundreds of cyclists from interstate or overseas who are on bikes that no one here probably could afford,” he said.
“They’ve travelled half-way around the world and brought their $8000 bike to follow this race. They arrive here at least a week or two before the race, and the every-day cyclists from interstate, especially those from Melbourne and Brisbane, are the same. It’s great for the town, no doubt.
“No one who works in this shop sees the TDU – we’re too busy. It’s dawn to after dark on this day.
“We have watched the TDU grow every year, and the long-term impact it has on the town and the region is big. Now McLaren Vale is a destination for cycling tourists from everywhere.”
Stage 5: Glenelg-Strathalbyn
Saturday, January 19
149.5km; est. duration 4 hours, 2 mins.
11.30am: Colley Tce, at Post Office
11.48: Right turn from Marion Rd on to Southern Expressway, Sturt. End of neutral start
12.15pm: Stage 5 begins. Exit Southern Expressway on to Main South Rd, Huntfield Heights. Left turn from Main South Rd on to Patapinda Rd, Old Noarlunga
12.34 Main South Rd at Flour Mill Rd/Port Rd roundabout, Aldinga
12.53 Main South Rd, at gravel siding, Sellicks Hill Subaru King of the Mountain
12.58 Main South Rd at Myponga Hall, Myponga Ziptrak Sprint #1
13.19 Left turn from Main South Rd on to main St, Inman Valley Rd at Doctors Hill Rd, Yankalilla
13.38: Inman Valley Memorial Hall Ziptrak Sprint #2
14.12: Right turn at roundabout from Welch Rd to Adelaide Rd. Left at roundabout to Adelaide Rd on to Port Elliot Rd
14.20 North Tce Port Elliot to Goolwa Rd at Ocean Rd/Mindacowie Tce
14.28 Middleton General Store
14.37 Hutchinson St at Foster Place roundabout, Goolwa
14.38 Hays St, Goolwa on to Cadell St
14.44 Alexandrina Rd, Currency Creek Rail crossing
15.28 Sandergrove Rd, Strathalbyn on to West Tce. Right turn on to North Parawde, Commercial Rd, Dawson St and Albyn Tce, Strathalbyn
15.32 Dawson St, Strathalbyn at IGA Race finish.
Stage 6: McLaren Vale-Willunga Hill
Sunday, January 20
151.5km; est. duration 3hr 48min.
13.10 Main Rd, McLaren Vale near Tatachilla Rd End lap #2, start lap #3, final lap
13.19 Main Rd, Willunga at Kell St. Left turn from Main Rd on to High St, Willunga. U-turn High St on to Aldinga Rd on to Main South Rd, Aldinga
13.36 Right turn on to Norman Rd, Aldinga on to Lower Esplanade, Aldinga Beach
13.46 The Esplanade, Snapper Point near Butterworth Rd Ziptrak Sprint #2
13.49 Veer right on to Jetty Rd, Port Willunga on to Port Rd, Port Willunga, left at Quinliven Rd, Aldinga
13.53 On to Main South Rd, Aldinga on to Tatachilla Rd, Landcross Farm. Left turn to Caffrey St, McLaren Vale on to Main Rd near Tatachilla Rd. End lap #3
14.19 Main Rd, Willunga at Kell St on to High St, Willunga on to Old Willunga Hill Rd at St Matthews St.
14.24 Left turn on to Brookman Rd, Willunga Hill Subaru King of the Mountain #1
14.34 Left turn from Range Rd on to Pennys Hill Rd, The Range. Left on to McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Flat. Left on to Main Rd, McLaren Vale, left turn to High St, Willunga to Old Willunga Hill Rd at St Matthews St, Willunga
14.58 Left turn on to Brookman Rd, Willunga Hill
14.58 Brookman Rd, Willunga Hill Subaru King of the Mountain #2 – Willunga Hill race finish.
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