“First stop” in the 2012 world cycling events: The Santos Tour Down Under

The annual Santos Tour Down Under, the same race where Lance Armstrong made his comeback, will take place January 15-22, 2012, in Adelaide, Australia. The bike race, which is more than just your average cycling event, is actually the “first stop” on the UCI World Tour, which brings together the world’s most challenging road races.

There are about 500 miles total and 6 stages in the race, each offering a unique landscape for riders. During Stage 1, riders will cycle through the vineyards of the Barossa and into Clare Valley, while Stage 2 journeys through the winding hillside of Adelaide. Stage 3 brings participants to the Fleurieu Peninsula and through the seaside town of Victoria Harbor, with stage 4 traversing through the heart of wine country. This year, Stage 5 brings a new element, as riders will ascend Old Willunga Hill, the most challenging obstacle of the race. And finally, Stage 6 ends the event with a circuit race around Elder Park on the banks of the River Torrens.

Not a professional rider but still want to experience the fun? Participate in The Bupa Challenge Tour, which allows attendees to ride shorter versions of the main race a few hours before the WorldTour professionals as well Ride for a Reason and support Cancer Council SA. You can also experience the race as a bystander with a unique point of view, from a helicopter.

For a taste of what to expect, check out the Santos Tour Down Under promotional video above.