The circus has hit town again and The Cannibal is here.
Adelaide once again is host to the opening race of the Road Cycling season which despite a 'Mountain' top finish on the penultimate stage (the Tour de France should try that sometime :-) it still looks like it's going to be a race for the sprinters. No Cavendish but BAH!
I was last heard of bumming my way around Italy in a very fast Volvo emblazoned with Podium Cafe signage running with the Contadors and riding to the top of as many Col's as my skinny old legs would take me. It's all been down-hill from there. A couple of bad accidents and a bad lady have left me a broken man but there's nothing like half a dozen 1km to go spots to help me to regain my mojo.
I've only got one useable arm at the moment so instead of two wheels I ride on three now and it's not as far to fall. I did a Charity ride yesterday morning and was mixing it with the Grade riders on the flat on this thing and you (and my surgeon) don't want to know how fast it goes downhill....it only reveals it's true 'deck-chair on wheels' personality when my knees get higher than my heart.
So...last night I set up in my usual spot to get a feel of the week ahead....it's going to be a fabulous week. The lap record for the circuit was demolished last night on both of the last two laps and the lead outs averaged close on 70km/hr for the last one, man they were flying. The race followed it's usual script with a breakaway being allowed the pleasure of contesting the preme's with Garmin (oooh) Barracuda's Aussie neo-pro Nathan Haas showing a good turn of speed to collect enough beer money for the team for the week and taking three out of four. Local boy Rohan Dennis, riding for UniSA despite having a Rabo contract was keen to show GreenEDGE where to spend their Euros next year and was the obligatory man from his team in the break.
Once the formalities were over it was Rabo with Leezer and Lulu, GreenEDGE with Cam and Stuey and Lotto with Sieberg and Hansen setting the stage for their sprinters. Sky had been conspicuous at the back of the pack for most of the race but I could see Dodger Hayman and Patey trying hard to get EBH towards the front.
With two laps to go GreenEDGE had the inside running with Robbie third wheel and the crowd were going wild but Lotto had complete control, jeeez that Sieberg is hard to get past when he gets that big frame wound up.
As they went past me with 1km to go (about 50 seconds, phewww!) I really couldn't see anyone beating Greipl, his team had done their job perfectly and a loud pop right in front of me saw Rabobank's hopes (and anyone following them) turn to dust. Quinziato was having a go at spoiling the party but the Lotto train even managed to get a gap before the last corner and it was all over bar some fast finishing from EBH, Barbie, JJRG and the Aussie with the best name in the peleton, Steele Van Hoff.
Prediction time. I'm going to stick my neck out and go for Mr. Consistency Jose Joquin Rojas Gil to take out overall honours this year and I liked the way Van Avermat was travelling but it really could be any one of fifty.
What a start to the season. Yay!!!