Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tour Down Under, Adelaide 2009

We arrived back in Brisbane a couple of nights ago. Even though there is an old saying that it’s always nice to get back home, I wish I was still driving the big Apollo camper and following the Tour Down Under with Sandra.

Can’t they make the race two weeks long? No, it is OK the way it is for an early season stage race and it gives us the opportunity to save a bit of our holidays for other events and our own races throughout the year.

The Tour Down Under was the second pro event we’ve been to, the first been the 2007 World Championship in Stuttgart. That was an exciting event but the TDU is by far the best of the two. I haven’t been to any of the Grand Tours but have heard a lot about them. What one might like about the TDU is the easy access to riders and the opportunity to see the peloton in different parts of the beautiful course. I did like that.

In Adelaide, my days started with a short drive to the start (I didn’t take my bike due to an injury) to check the team’s set up and catch a glance of the old and young riders. Then, I would drive to a spot to watch the bunch climbing or fighting for sprint points. There, I would meet Sandra who would be experiencing part of the course on her bike or I would separate from her as she would set off to one of the climbs herself.

Another short drive (quicker when in Phil’s car) and I would stop at another spot where no more than a hand full of people would be waiting for the race. Or, to where thousands of people would be already waiting for Lance and the peloton to come by. Either way, it was more exciting then I ever expected to be.

Lastly, we would head to the finish and with luck witness the final efforts by the lead out teams. Unfortunately, most of the time we were a little late for that and couldn’t be bothered as the crowd leaned five deep against the barriers. Great atmosphere still, as live music, cafes, food stalls and a diverse variety of entertainment were found a short distance to the finish line.

Nevertheless, been able to sit down for a Pale Ale or retreat to the camper to celebrate the end of the race with something to eat and a glass of local wine made up for missing the final throw. That way, we were also able to avoid the traffic back to Adelaide, as thousands headed home or to their hotels.

To me, this trip to Adelaide had a little more significance than just going and watching a pro cycling event. Having lived in Adelaide when I first came to Australia, 22 years ago, I do have a special place in my heart for the old town. And, it is in Adelaide that some of my best friends are. Add the opportunity to show Sandra a bit of my “old life” to all of the above, this trip was something I will remember for a long, long time.

Looking forward to the 2010 edition of the Tour Down Under, on my bike…


Phil Egel said...

Great work Alberto. It was awesome to catch up with you again my good friend.
Cheers, Phil.

Buttsy said...

You have some fantastic pics of the rour and it was nice to meet you and Sandra,.,,

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