The first day of the Tour Down Under officially kicked off today and with that we unleashed Dan ‘Schleck’ Scheiner onto the world stage with his climbing ability sending Strava into meltdown – someone get this kid a World Tour team!
The start was a gentle roll out of Adelaide with the riders heading off early in the morning, in order to get a few kilometres in their legs and also to get a prime position for the main KOM of the day at Checker Hill. The group had swelled in size today with the arrival of Mike ‘Fozzy’ Foster, Buzz Crosby, Johnny Miller, Antoni Mikac and Rebecca Snell amongst the contingent. The riders set a solid tempo on the ride out, with everyone keen to test their legs on the opening day and to show off to our Melbourne compatriots.
The riders await the arrival of the pro peloton
The ride out to Checker Hill saw Dan Scheiner powered by his sunflower seeds, set the sixth faster time up the back side of Checker Hill after simply rolling up the early parts with the group. We then sent him down the other side- while we stood around in the shade, the same side as the race and he promptly delivered a fourth fastest strava time for the main climb. We waited around for about an hour for the main field to pass through and it was a real buzz, similar to our road races – with cars beeping and people randomly getting in the way and some concerned officials with a microphone, asking a bunch of cyclists to obey the rules – don’t they know that cyclists don’t follow the rules when in large groups?? The prize for that climb was the appearance of Justin Roscoe. The lone wolf was now a wolf pack.
Dan Scheiner shows everyone how it is climbed
We were then straight back on our bikes and racing to the town of Lobethal where the pros would complete a number of loops. Some more time working on the razor sharp tan lines while we waited for them to come around. They looped past twice before we moved in for the finish line.
The finish has been compared to that of Church Point amongst the pros due to the importance of positioning, we all get a master class in watching Greipel launch and take the win, it was similar to what I have seen Andy Crawley do on previous mornings.
After that we were back on the bikes and riding back towards Adelaide with a few of the Omega Pharma riders such as Bert Grabsch and Gert Steegmans. Robbie Hunter of Garmin also decided that he needed to sit on the back of the train being driven by Foster and Buzz.
The boys knowing that they had a few pros latching on at the back, were keen to keep the pace high while makng it look as easy as possible, I think the Omega boys thought they had taken a wrong turn and were still in the race. As the road climbed skywards to Ashdon, the pros decided to flex their muscle and proceeded to come to the front and drive the pace – one by one riders where firing out the back almost mirroring Steele Van Hoff in the prior sprint.
As the kilometres ticked over, the pros only had one shadow as they carried on towards the top in Dan Scheiner. Dan was the only remaining rider over the climb, scoring a second in Strava. He then descended the hill following the wheels of the euro pros and scored himself a free lift back into Adelaide. Just the four of them, turning their legs over.
The rest of us decided a few more k’s were needed in punishment, so unsurprisingly Foster sought out another climb before we rolled in for a coffee in Glenelg before returning to the city.
A solid day of 124km, with stage two tomorrow – up the corkscrew!