Phil's Blog

Phil regularly posts here with his opinion on current races, cycling politics, and updates from the ground at Le Tour de France, La Vuelta a Espana, and other major races.

My Tour down Under, Phil Anderson

Posted on: Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Santos Tour down Under is great. Arguably the closest Aussies will get to a Euro style cycling classic, the event has stolen the hearts of Australians as a not only a cycling mecca, but as a carnival for the whole family.

Every January I’m luckily enough to make the trip to Adelaide. To be fair, I make the time using the post Christmas holiday to train in, what can only be described as a rigorous spectator event.

Drive from Melbourne generally the Friday before the start.
Sat: Beach Port Recovery Ride.
Sun: Ride Like Crazy, 125km
People’s Choice Crit
Mon: Recovery Ride

Tues - Saturday: Ride out to the course one way or another to see the race.

The riding is great and while there is the heat to consider, the festivities do take a toll. By mid week fatigue sets in as the candles get burnt at both ends. Much like any tour, the strong get stronger and by weeks end I was able to hold my own, with a brake fault only hampering my form slightly on our last ride. The legends dinner followed and as usual we were the last men standing, almost.

Adelaide has a cycling history like many other Australian communities where despite the surge in riding we are culturally devoid of a cycling tradition outside of the racing fraternity. The TdU has harnessed the multitudes of non racing riders into a week long festival that is celebrated by all.

Consulted in a small way at the inception stage of the first TdU I can proudly confirm that Events SA and Adelaide have created the best cycling related event in Australia and one that compares on global scale. 

Great to spectate with Clyde Sefton - Australia's only ever male olympic road medalist.

I am proudly Aussie and Caleb’s multiple wins was undeniably impressive. There wasn’t a big field of star sprinters but then again Sagan is no slouch and he had a crack. Starting the season with 4 aggressive stage wins in the bag is a great start for Caleb and his team.

Richie Porte has finally come of age. Richie has the palmares already and talent to do anything he wants in cycling but now perhaps he is hungry for the leadership.

Richie Porte didn’t leave anything to chance, a blistering attack in the finale of stage two secured the Tour down Under for him. He could have sat on his laurels and a boring old race would have unfolded but on Old Willunga Hill Richie Porte became the crowd sensation stamping his authority all over the race. Chapeau, a top-spot in the Paris Nice would be nice leading into the Grand Tour zone.

By far the most popular rider in Adelaide was double World Champ Peter Sagan. A great world champ, fun outgoing and willing to share his passion, wherever Sagan went, there was a thrill in the air. Combined with his composure and a host of 2nd places he is well on form for the spring classics.

Next year it will be the 20th celebration of the Tour down Under, an even better reason to go over and celebrate.

I used my TdU form to have a go in the Cadel Ride which should bring me up to the Otway Odyssey nicely in shape!

Written by
Photos: Graham Watson & me