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RACE PREVIEW: Lexus of Blackburn Herald Sun Tour

After two weeks of great racing ‘down under’ the Australian block concludes this week with the Lexus of Blackburn Herald Sun Tour.

The Course

The third edition of the Herald Sun Tour has a new look for 2020 with the race comprising of two road stages for the first time in the event’s short history.

Starting on Wednesday, the first stage consists of 94km of flat and open roads through the farmland of the Goulburn Valley. With barely a hill in sight, it’s a day for the sprinters so expect to see the likes of Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton- Scott), Peta Mullens (Roxsolt Attaquer) and Nina Kessler (Team Tibco SVB) all in the mix.

In stark contrast, stage 2 is anything but flat as the race heads into the ‘Australian Alps’ for a decisive day all about the climbers. A short but brutal 75.2km will decide the overall classification and a mountain top finish promises a dramatic and exciting finale. The stage starts with a descent of the finishing climb followed by a rolling technical section. The bunch then loops back on themselves where they face a 30km climb to the finish at Falls Creek Ski Resort. With 1160m of elevation, an average gradient of 3.9% as well as several rhythm-sapping undulations the climb will be a tough test. A battle of strength, endurance and mental fortitude; it will no doubt crown a worthy winner.

Our General Classification Riders To Watch

1) Lucy Kennedy

Defending champion Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott) excels in the mountains. Former winner of the notoriously brutal Taiwan challenge, Kennedy thrives on long climbs. Her ability to sustain a relentless climbing pace makes her one of ‘the’ favourites to take victory on the slopes up to Falls Creek.

2) Lauren Stephens

After overcoming a chronic injury towards the tail end of 2019, Stephens (Team Tibco) may well be back to her best. With a top 10 overall at The Tour de I’Ardeche (which included a 2nd on the summit finish at Le Mont Lozere) last September, Stephens is clearly a rider who can ride long climbs well. Having narrowly missed the GC podium two weeks ago at the TdU in Adelaide and being pipped to the podium at Race Torquay, she’ll be even more motivated to make it into the top 3 this week.

Summary:

When: 5th – 6th February

Where: Victoria, Australia

What:

Stage 1 – 94km flat road stage Stage 2 – 75.2km summit finsh

Who to watch:

Lucy Kennedy *****

Ella Harris ****

Sarah Gigante ***

Top Outsider:

Peta Mullens

TV Coverage:

TBC

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