Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tour Down Under 2017 People's Choice Classic

People's Choice Classic
banner on Hutt Street.
It's the Tour Down Under
in Adelaide, South Australia!
It's a great thrill to have a
Grand Tour race in my home city.
It's an even greater thrill to be there!

On Sunday I went to the People's Choice Classic, a 22 lap Criterium race, a preview event designed to introduce the new teams at the start of the 2017 world cycling season and get the riders back into racing mode after the end-of-year break.

Trackside with Adrienne.

It's wonderful to be well enough to enjoy some outings this season and I am lucky to have fabulous friends like Adrienne and her family who are also interested in cycling and kindly offered to take me into the city to see the race with them.

We found an accessible vantage point in the leafy shade of the plane trees along Hutt Street. We were right next to the barrier where we could get a good look without the big crowds that gather around the finish line.  There are big screens around the track, plus loudspeakers to follow events at other points on the track and, if that is not enough, one can keep track of the statistics and see live streaming on the mobile phone internet.

I decided against taking a large camera with me in order to soak up the atmosphere without lugging heavy baggage. I would rather see more of the race with less fiddling around with equipment.  Instead, I made do with the camera on my phone for some quick 'happy snaps' for better or for worse.

I hope these photographs give you a feel for the relaxed, happy atmosphere that we enjoyed. I tried to get a photo of each of this season's jerseys, starting with the Australian teams.

Team UniSA based at the University of South Australia

When I was a student (at UniSA) I had a road bike which was my main means of transport.  I used it for commuting as well as recreational cycling.  Adelaide is a great city for cycling because it is relatively flat.  I used to ride from one side of the city to the other for work and play.  It was great fun.  As a child, I spend time in The Netherlands where everybody rides bikes everywhere. That is why I have always been interested in cycling and love watching it, especially the Grand Tour road racing.

Orica-Scott (Australia)

Local 'Adelaide boy' Rohan Dennis (#21)
who rides for the BMC Racing Team
which is based in the USA.

Miles Scotson (#26) is from northern Adelaide (Gawler)
and riding for BMC Racing.
His brother Callum (#182) is racing for UniSA in the
2017 Tour Down Under.

You need to be quick to catch these guys on camera!
I nearly missed Aussie rider Caleb Ewan (#6 for Orica-Scott)
with the yellow shoulders (National Criterium Champion).
He is riding alongside German team mate Roger Kluge (#4).

Tasmanian Richie Porte (#23) in BMC (USA) colours rides alongside a rider from Cannondale Drapac (USA). Could it be fellow Aussie William Clarke (#76)? Behind them is Belgian rider Thomas De Gendt (#61) from Lotto Soudal (Belgium), team mate of another Aussie Adam Hansen (#67).  

The warm-up laps are a great chance to get a closer look at the riders, team colours and bikes but they are still fast enough to make it hard to identify some of them.  I've done my best but I don't know all of them and couldn't get photos of all of them!

Trek-Segafredo (USA), Cannondale Drapac (USA) and the new Bahrain-Merida (Bahrain) colours.

Lotto Soudal (Belgium)
Team Sunweb (Germany) bring new colours to the track.

UAE Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) riders,
Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen (#164) & Italian Marco Marcato (#162)
with Czech rider Petr Vakoc (#143) of Quick-Step.

Bora-Hansgrohe (Germany) is a new team with new colours for the tour.
Here they are outnumbering the red and black of BMC.
Bora-Hansgrohe is the new home for Slovakian rider and
World Champion Peter Sagan (#11)

I was hoping to get a photo of the remarkable Peter Sagan. We saw him lap once and then he went off for an interview so we could only listen to him on the loudspeaker instead of watch him come around.

His sponsors had a 'pop-up' demo during the week and it turns out that it was at the gym that my son attends.  When I saw footage online I recognised the location instantly and asked my son about it but he was oblivious due to working hard.  There's no time to keep up with the social news when there are deadlines to meet.  What a shame. We could have 'popped down' to have a look at the 'pop-up'!

Movistar (Spain) riders Victor De La Parte & Gorka Izaguirre
with a rider from Quick-Step (Belgium) whom I do not know, maybe fellow Spaniard Enric Mas?

Team Lotto Jumbo (Netherlands)

Katusha-Alpecin (Switzerland)
The middle rider is Jhonatan RestrepoValencia.
I couldn't identify the others.

Astana Pro Team colours blurring past and this is just the warm-up!

Three Colombians?
I think that's the birthday boy in the middle, Johan Esteban Chaves of Orica-Scott (Australia), with Jarlinson Pantano of Trek-Segafredo (USA).
Who is the Team Sky (Great Britain) rider?

The warm-up pace began to quicken as the start of the race drew closer. Excitement was building with the crowds.

FDJ (France) in the usual red, white and blue.

AG2R La Mondiale (France) and race organisers' car.

Here's a team in bright vests that you won't see anywhere else–the SAPOL* team
who are about to be lapped by riders from
AG2R La Mondiale, BMC & Bora-Hansgrohe.
*The South Australia Police have bicycle patrols every day because Adelaide is such a great place for cycling.

A black race helicopter capturing aerial TV pictures.
I believe there are at least 3 helicopters covering the Tour Down Under this year.

With the tour come the entourages of team managers, mechanics, organisers, officials and media etc.  The amount of support required to organise such an event is incredible.  

We have former Olympic cyclist and Race Director Mike Turtur OAM* to thank for establishing the Tour Down Under and having it included in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Tour.  

The Tour Down Under was the first event of its kind outside of Europe to be awarded Pro Tour status by the UCI organisation.

*Order of Australia medal

TV Moto 2 team.
These people travel with the Grand Tours to expertly bring the on-road vision to our TVs at home.  I am sure this is the same lady who was interviewed during
a Tour De France broadcast.  If it is the same one, she has been doing this job for years and absolutely loves it!
Personally, I don't know how the motorbike camera crews do what they do. To see them on TV tearing down steep winding roads at thrilling speeds, balancing on the back of the motorbike, I feel like they really do take their lives into their hands.  

If you think they are zippy when you see them on TV, they truly are when you see them in real life. They were doing speeds along our streets that we wouldn't dare do in our cars!

Coming around the corner from Bartels Road into Hutt Street, The Tour Down Under People's Classic road race is underway!

… and here they come …
the best road racers in the world!

… and there they go …

…still going …

… and still going!
There are a lot of them aren't there?

We cheered on young Australian rider Ben O'connor as he created a breakaway for
Team Dimension Data (South Africa).
Even though the picture is a blurry, you can see how hard the 21-year-old was working.

I did take some video of the race–snippets of sound and vision but the file size is too large to insert into a blog post so I will endeavour to upload it to YouTube and let you know when that has been done.
I can feel a learning curve coming on!

You can find links to sound and vision on the Tour Down Under web site.
So, if you are wondering about fewer blog posts from me this week, you will know where I will be: following the Tour Down Under! 

A big thank you to Adrienne and family for a beautiful evening and wonderful company!

People's Choice Classic: Results

1. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) from Australia
2. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) from Ireland
3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) from Slovakia

The finish time was 1:03:41 but because the race finished in a bunch sprint, everyone in the bunch is awarded the same official time.


Santos Tour Down Under: http://tourdownunder.com.au

Santos Tour Down Under official photo gallery: http://tourdownunder.com.au/en/the-race/coverage/gallery 

SAPOL (South Australia Police): https://www.police.sa.gov.au/

Specialized Women's Racing, "Wheelie with Sagan is underway", [0'45"], Twitter, @SpecializedWR, 14 January 2017, 18:24: https://twitter.com/SpecializedWR_/status/820177206483636224 

Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI): http://www.uci.ch/ 

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

"Ready, Get Set for Victor Harbor & Tour Down Under 2017", 20 January 2017: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/ready-set.html  

"Tour Down Under 2017 at Marvellous McLaren Vale", 3 February 2017: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com/2017/02/tour-down-under-2017-at-marvellous.html

"International Visitors", 8 January 2019: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com/2019/01/international-visitors.html 

"Tour Down Under 2018 Photos (Part 1)", 9 January 2019: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com/2019/01/tour-down-under-2018-photos-part-1.html 

"Petal Pullover in Print", 6 June 2013: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/petal-pullover-in-print.html 


  1. What a thrill, to be part of such an amazing event is wonderful.

    1. Hi Lorraine. There have been times over the years where I had the chance to go but I was either too unwell or the weather was too extreme for my messed up metabolism to handle. This year everything is lining up nicely, including Peter Sagan's return to Adelaide. I was disappointed that his team did not come down under last year.

  2. Years ago I saw the beginning of the Tour de France in Rotterdam, I saw many riders behinds as they flew by. It was so much fun. Glad you had a great day.

    1. THAT would be something to see Meredith! Especially in The Netherlands where bikes are a way of life. For decades I've been wishing we could find bikes in Australia like the ones in Holland. Over there, there are bikes specifically tailored for anything you like and it's only been in the last 10 years or so that I've seen Dutch bikes here. Granted, Australia is a long way away from The Netherlands. You may be interested to know that my local bike shop is a supplier of custom made bikes for people with disabilities.

  3. Sounds like you had a really lovely day, very interesting pictures. I have thought about those filming too, regular stuntmen really. Blessings, Pam in Norway

    1. I'm glad you like the pictures, Pam. I love seeing photos of other places so I'm trying to provide the sane service to my friends further away.

      I'm making the most of this Tour by trying to get to as many stages as possible. There are more photos but I haven't had time to sort them out for Lupey Loops yet.

  4. Cool! Looks like you had a fantastic day out. Great photos! I am sending this to my husband. He is crazy about bikes!!

    1. The Tour Down Under rode within walking distance of my house and I got a great peloton shot with Peter Sagan and his team mates at the front. I put the first one on Twitter (@Jodiebodie2) but have edited it since and hope to blog it soon.

      Do you get to see the Tour Down Under on tv in Texas?

    2. P.S. Tamara, why is your hubby so crazy about bikes? Are you both keen cyclists?