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.

Tour Down Under - Awesome

Posted on: Friday, January 22, 2016


Adelaide isn’t France, can’t compare much however the tour down under is the closest thing to the Tour de France that I have ever come across. Without the tyranny of distance or the magnitude of mountains the Tour down Under is a sweet option.

The paper over breakfast covers every element. You go to the stage starts and you probably find more folks on bikes(than in France. The village depart where the stars roll up and have their staff running about attending to formalities.

I know the ASO is here, don’t replicate the hierachy Events SA, don’t ruin it.

Unley experienced a huge crowd. The road was lined by barriers keeping the crowds on the footpath making it a bit of a mob scene. All the cafes were flat out, business was going full tilt.

Offering the buddies riding with me something a little different each day we rode past the stage to stop mid-stage up in the hills. Just like in France. We were riding in relative serenity through the hills for an hour or so before we met our first few, then hundreds and suddenly 1000s.

Coffee in Stirling, 2km from the course but the scene was one full of lycra and a buzz. Universal friendships formed.

This is probably one of the biggest differences between the TdU and LeTour. Here in SA, 90% of the spectators arrive race-side by bike, they are riders and primarily Australian. The TdU is a huge attraction for South Australia because it is about the ride. Not the Bupa Challenge on one day, it is about riding every to the race.

The peloton arrived and the crowd went wild, calming down we all saddled up rode the 15km to the top of the Corkscrew. The peloton had a 90 minute ride but I had mapped a route less trodden, hilly, but we arrived 20 minutes ahead of the peloton. We scrambled high on an embankment above the KOM and watched as the the break was being chased down at the pivotal point of the stage.

The usual suspects were heading affairs with Rohan Dennis and Gerro leading the chase. Other than the huge red-gums, the position next to the KOM was similar to that on a small climb at Le Tour. The energy, the excitement in the crowd, nearly everyone was in lycra.

After the road opened we followed the course out of the hill and back to the city. A buzz for the sea of lycra clad returning off the hills to their home in metro Adelaide is the Pro riders who begin filtering through the ranks on the way back to their hotels.

Gerro has the lead, OGE will probably like to see a break get way tomorrow and ride tempo from behind. Stage 5 to Willunga on Saturday will be the next rendezvous for the overall classement.

Written by

Photo's Graham Watson