I'm still on a high! What a day for the sport of cycling, for the Tour DownUnder and for all those of us that yell for a break....no matter who's in it, to succeed. Cadel, LLSG, AVv and the Sagan kiddie were just why I sit glued to my computer during cold winter nights...why I climb trees at the age of fifty to watch my heroes go past, and why I'm proud to be part of this 'new craze' they call cycling.
I slept in...I deserved it, and so my usual spot for parking at Stage 5 was well and truly taken. So i had to pick another and with not much time in hand due ro aforementioned lethergy I chose a spot just as they turned into Range Road after the KOM. I then made my first descent of Willunga Hill to get to watch them passing on the first circuit.
There was a break and it had a UniSA boy driving it...Matthew's turn today.
HTC Columbia were controlling the pace of the peleton and the crowds were simply amazing...bigger than last year even, this was going to be a great day.
I headed down to the beach to catch some more action...my legs were strong after yesterday's workout...bum a little sore but I was going well and managed to catch up the rear of the entourage for a bit of a 55km/hr tucked in behind a Police Bike TT to the beach.
I managed to get to Port Willunga and the Break Group was a little further ahead and working hard.
With guess who chasing??
I was enjoying the beach, there was a great party atmosphere and the food was good...time to replenish the fat stores with a Yiros (Souvlaki) and some Greek Honey Puffs...yumm yummm!!
Back to the finish line to see how things have sorted themselves out for the first climb up Willunga, the crowds were huge and this time it was BMC and CDE setting the pace for the peleton..the hairs on my neck (and back) were bristling with excitement, I was hanging out to get up to the top for the second ascent.
I took a back street in Willunga to dodge the crowds heading up to the climb and was (?) horrified/amazed/stunned to see this...I have honestly never seen this vehicle before (apart from in dreams perhaps) and the similarities are striking....it even had personalised plates MERCKX.....it too failed to be parked in a spot that the SBS director felt worthy of showing.
I find Willunga Hill easy peasy and rode up taking photos of the amazing crowds, they were abuzz with the prospect of the GC guys jousting it out on ascent number 2 and Cadel, AVV, LLSG and the amazing Peter Sagan (you'd have a big smile if you were the Liquigas Slovakian talent spotter right now wouldn't you!!) didn't dissapoint.
HTC Columbia was in dissarray as they passed underneath my tree...Greipel was first of them past I think, what were they doing? I had expected Dodger to be with any attempt at a break but he was just marshalling troups.
As soon as the stragglers passed I joined the mad rush down the hill to get to see the finish....this used to be a mad bastad 80km/hr descent to get prime viewing but pedestrian traffic makes it hard on the brakes now so this was as close as i could get...thank Cliff for big screens eh!
The finish line crowd was amazing...cheering every move from Cadel and just willing the break to succeed. LLSG makes a habit of sprinting up the barriers on the RHS of the road here and mauled the rest of the four man break. Luke Roberts sprang out of the pack like a man possessed to grab second...where did he come from!
There was an absolute standing ovation for every finisher...the sport of cycling regained a few notches for the multitude and it was an awesome way to finish off my week.
Just for Chris....it's more Solvang than you think!!
Just the formalities to go now. HTC managed to keep Greipel in Ochre despite not following my plan. I'm having a few round for beers and swim this arvo...so watching the proceedings on the big screen in my front room...then heading off on a three week road trip up to Queensland in the Pdc Limo. The surfboard on the roof, the Golf Clubs and dog in the back an esky full of beer and the bike in the shed...I'm all cycled out!!
Peter Sagan has been the highlight for me...I think the Port Adelaide Cycling club wishes they'd chosen him as their obscure neo pro to follow....although Arty Vichot hasn't put a foot wrong either. Luke Roberts and Matty Wilson showed that the faith put in them by their new employers was founded and all of the young UniSA guys were just outstanding...look at where Peter McDonald finished in the GC. The rest you've already discussed amongst yourselves. Only 550km for me this week but I had as much fun as ever....this may be my last TDU in this fashion so i hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.