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The 2020 Tour of Southland has undergone a makeover.
The route has been refreshed and promises to deliver some interesting racing.
Race director Sally Marr said Covid-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions were making planning the event challenging.
But she is confident the race will be able to go ahead as planned.
Several high-profile New Zealand riders, including past winners, have indicated they are keen to be at the start line when the tour begins with the traditional time trial prologue around Queens Park in Invercargill on November 1.
The 151km haul from Invercargill to Gore has been shifted from its usual slot later in the tour to stage one.
Stage 3 traditionally features the highest mountain in the race. In recent editions competitors have clamoured up Coronet Peak but this year riders will climb up to the Remarkables ski station.
It is a 13km slog which is likely to have a big impact in determining the overall winner of the tour.
Stage 4 finishes at the top of Bluff Hill, while stage 5 is another familiar stage in an unfamiliar slot.
It is the 170km ride from Invercargill to Lumsden. The tough cross-winds can make the stage utterly exhausting and it follows two tiring days of climbing.
The final day of the tour gets under way with a 13km individual time trial in Winton. And the tour wraps up with a 77km race from Winton to Invercargill.
“The climb up the Remarkables has certainly got riders talking — the climb is an unknown to many, as it is only fairly recently that it has been paved, and the last couple of kilometres are still over gravel, which adds an even greater challenge to what will likely be the decisive stage of this year’s tour,” Marr said.