And so to Melbourne. It suddenly feels like the Australian leg of Around The World is getting somewhere with the third major Australian city in the bag after Perth and Adelaide, leaving just an inland trip north across the outback to go before the final stop in Brisbane.
This stage is a climber. Starting at a hundred feet and touching almost four hundred at one point, it climbs almost a hundred feet more than it descends, and the descent is only courtesy of some made downhilling in the last couple of miles. You can mark this one down as a slog for well over half the distance.
The first thing to say about the route through Melbourne is that it doesn’t go through the middle of Melbourne: instead it meanders its up the western suburbs before emerging on the approach to the airport north of the city.
The rollout is from outside McDonalds at the intersection where the A96 Geelong Road crosses over the M1 Princes Highway near to Werribee Open Range Zoo. The route is uphill for ten miles as it passes through Werribee at three miles, Hoppers Crossing at six miles and Tarneit at eight miles before hanging a right at the top of the climb approaching Boral Deer Park Quarry. After the turn, the road descends gently through Truganina and past West Park Industrial Estate before turning left at the roundabout from Boundary Road onto Mount Derrimut Road at fourteen miles.
The route then heads north, cutting between Sunshine Golf Club and Brimbank Garden Estate at fifteen miles, then heads on through the suburbs of Deer Park, Cairnlea, Albanvale and Kings Park in quick succession before turning right onto Taylors Road at the Radio 3LD and 3RN transmission site at twenty miles. Being a transmission site, you won’t be surprised to know that it offers the highest elevation of the stage.
The route then descends off the top, looping round Keilor Downs and Taylor’s Creek Linear Park as the road takes not one but two left handers to re-establish a northerly run to the finish. The second of those bends is on Green Gully Road as it bypasses Brimbank Park and that sets up a mad descent to the finish just short of the airport as the road crosses the M79 highway on its way to the line.
Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres
Ascent: 515 feet / 157 metres
RGT Magic Road: rU7tARaPYcPu
Max elevation: 380 ft
Min elevation: 117 ft
Total climbing: 516 ft
Total descent: -435 ft
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