• The view of the Tour de Tweed women's peloton in 2019. (Veloshotz/Cycling Australia)Source: Veloshotz/Cycling Australia
The mercury is set to hit the high 30s in the area surrounding Murwillumbah as the National Road Series (NRS) takes to the roads to decide the overall winners of the men's and women's premier domestic competition for 2020.
SBS Cycling Central

26 Nov 2020 - 12:52 PM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2020 - 12:54 PM

The technical guide for the 'National Tour' - the nine-day extravaganza of NRS cycling to conclude the 2020 season - has been released, listing a tough series of routes for the domestic men's and women's peloton to tackle.

The long-term Bureau of Meteorology weather forecast has temperatures in the thirties consistently, with thunderstorms predicted for later in the week. Memories of the 2017 Battle Recharge - another race that was rescheduled to later in the season - will be forefront for riders, an edition that featured searing temperatures in the high thirties and a runaway five-and-a-half minute win for Brendon Davids, a little-heralded mountain bike rider from South Africa who impressed mightily.

Davids destroys NRS field at Battle Recharge
Brendon Davids (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) stamped himself into the history of the National Road Series (NRS) winning a scorching 129km stage by six and a half minutes to street the field.

The 'National Tour' name is a bit misleading, it's not a regular stage race with a general classification based on time elapsed and jerseys for leaders, it's a succession of nine one-day events, with one time trial, one team time trial, one criterium and six road races making up the racing schedule which has a championships feel to it more than a typical tour. 

The Courses

Day 1 - 6.30 am, Saturday, November 28 - Individual Time Trial - 14.9 km - Pottsville beach

A largely flat time trial along a long, straight stretch of coast largely protected from the wind. One for the powerful riders, with national champion Sarah Gigante (TIBCO-SVB) lining up in the event wearing the green and gold jersey.

Day 2 - 2.00 pm, Sunday, November 29 - Criterium - 63km Men, 42km Women (45 laps of 1.4km course men, 30 laps women) - Murwillumbah

Eight corners on the 1.4 kilometre circuit is a lot, but the figure-of-eight circuit is relatively straightforward with flowing corners and good road conditions around the industrial park.

Day 3 - 9.00 am, Monday, November 30 - Road Race - 129.6km Men, 86.6km Women - Tyalgum

The Tyalgum finish is a well-worn one in the Tour de Tweed race that normally runs as part of the NRS calendar. This specific finish was last sighted when Brittany Petersen won solo in the women's race and Ryan Cavanagh sprinted clear of Ayden Toovey in the men's event from a two-man breakaway.

The climbing isn't as hard as some of the other days of racing, and there are a number of teams that will be keen to see a bunch sprint.

Day 4 - 9.00am, Tuesday, December 1 - Road Race - 126.9km Men, 75.0km Women - Tomewin 

The queen day of racing, with the summit finish atop Tomewin the most imposing single climb of the racing in northern NSW. It's only just in New South Wales, as it skirts the Queensland border, but the five kilometre, 6.6. per cent gradient climb will give the pure climbers the chance to stretch their legs after a number of hard climbing circuits precede the dash up the mountain.

Day 5 - 9.00am, Wednesday, December 2 - Road Race - 146.3km Men, 81.5km Women - Stokers Siding 

The longest day of racing for the men will be an intermediate stage, with the loop around the Stokers region south of Murwillumbah set to provide opportunities for the all-rounders and tough sprinters of the peloton. 

Day 6 - 9.00am, Thursday, December 3 - Road Race - 145.2km Men, 108.9km Women - Mooball 

This time it's the women's longest day of racing, with a mostly flat stage around a shortened Stokers loop set to have a little kink in the tail with a three-kilometre climb that summits with seven kilometres to go, then has a technical descent which flattens out with 500 metres to the finish. One for the attackers.

Day 7 - 9.00am, Friday, December 4 - Road Race - 138.4km Men, 103.8km Women - Bilambil

The hardest day of racing on the schedule. A very tough short loop around Bilambil will see the peloton tackle double-digit gradient slopes with regularity on the 17.4 kilometre-loop. Eight circuits for the men and six for the women means 3,224 metres of climbing for the men, and 2,418 for the women. 

Coupled with expected storms, this could be one of the hardest days on record in NRS history.  

Day 8 - 7.00am, Saturday, December 5 - Team Time Trial - 27.2km Men, 27.2km Women - Dulguigan 

A relatively flat stage that runs alongside the Rous and then the Tweed River north of Murwillumbah. A few kicks up in the road may disrupt the unity of the team time trial trains, but shouldn't overly affect the result.

Day 9 - 7.00am, Sunday, December 6 - Road Race - 139.0km Men, 97.3km Women - Farrants Hill

The racing will conclude with a day in the cane fields of the region. The hill of the 'Farrants Hill' course is no joke either, with a similar route in last year's Tour de Tweed significantly splitting up the men's and women's fields. The wind can whip up around the flat areas of the cane fields as well, so that may be an added element for riders to negotiate.  

You can watch daily highlights from the event on SBS Cycling Central with a hour-long highlights show from the racing to be broadcast on SBS on Saturday December 19 from 3pm.