Ask RIDE…Tour Down Under: Stage 4

This is not the first time I have come to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under but it is the first year that I have attended while working for RIDE. I have to say the experience has been different. The racing remains the same, the terrain is just as enticing and the week still gives me motivation that lasts all year but I have gotten more of a feel of the routine of racing that comes with being on a ProTeam. More so, the routine that doesn’t involve being on the bike.

The soigneurs and mechanics are also professionals and take great care in what they do. Filling bottles, pumping tyres, cleaning cars, loading bikes and preparing food for the day and all before the riders arrive in the Tour Village. It is part of the team work involved in winning bike races. Perhaps not immediately like the cause and effect of a lead out but without without them the team would not operate at a professional level.

After Michael Matthews won Stage 3, I spoke to Tim Dejonghe, a mechanic from Rabobank (and one of the nicest guys around) and the pride that he had for his work was unmistakable. Everyone on a ProTeam is there to help get their guys over the line first. When it happens, it may only be the rider who gets on the podium but the whole team is celebrating.

These are pumped up everyday to ensure that they are ready to go if needed in the race.

Tyres are pumped up everyday to ensure that they are ready to go if needed in the race.

The mechanics start washing bikes as soon as the riders drop them off.

The mechanics start washing bikes as soon as the riders drop them off.

Tim, who lives in Belgium, is in his 4th season as a mechanic on Rabobank and previously worked as Mavic Neutral Service motor bikes during the Classics. Once he gets the bike on the stand, it will only take him up to 10 minutes to finish working on the bike.

Tim, who lives in Belgium is in his 4th season as a mechanic with Rabobank. He has previously worked with Mavic, on board the neutral service motor bikes during the Classics. Once he gets the bike on the stand, it will take him barely 10 minutes to finish working the job.

Team Sky Dogma's about to be loaded onto the team van for transport to the start.

Team Sky Dogma's about to be loaded onto the team van for transport to the start.

The feed zone is a crucial area in the race where direct team work between soigneurs and riders can be seen. Any musettes that are missed by the riders, are quickly loaded into the team car as it passes, and then given to the riders up the road.

The feed zone is a crucial area in the race where direct team work between soigneurs and riders can be seen. Any musettes that are missed by the riders, are quickly loaded into the team car as it passes, and then passed out to the riders from the team car.

I unfortunately didn’t get out to the race today but instead followed the events over race radio and the live Race Updates on the Tour Down Under website. As the kilometre count came down the tension of not being able to see what is happening and knowing that the group was still away was almost unbearable.

At 5km to go, the gap was 39 seconds; 4kms to go: 39 seconds; 3kms to go: 36 seconds; 2km to go: 33 seconds and then Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervélo) won his first stage in the Tour Down Under. The race has shown that while it may be a sprinter’s course the Tour Down Under is a cycling race and anything can happen! What a ride by Australia’s Cyclist of the Year. 10 days after turning 23, Cameron is certainly on his way to a prosperous career on the road after years of success on the track and will wear the Ochre leaders jersey tomorrow at Willunga…looking forward to that.

Cameron Meyer and Ben Swift are young and fast. In the first World Tour event of the year they have both won a stage and

Cameron Meyer and Ben Swift are young and fast. In the first WorldTour event of the year they have both won a stage and are both just 23 years old.

You will have no doubt read about an upcoming Sports Illustrated article on Lance Armstrong. He has continued to say he has nothing to worry about and it he certainly hasn’t lost any of his popularity with the public. Everyone comes to Adelaide to see LA.

armstrong-signaturesI want to leave you with the view from Old Norton Summit Rd. When I went up I was passed by only two cars and encountered no other cyclists. A road practically just for me and a view that is just reward for your efforts.

old-norton-summit1Thanks for reading and enjoy Willunga tomorrow!

John

John is Office Assistant at RIDE and handles subscriptions.

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