|Tour Down Under 2019 Cowbell|
Make lots of noise to cheer on the cyclists
and show your appreciation.
Hot, hot, HOT! The only way to describe the 2019 Tour Down Under.
The searing summer heatwave conditions thwarted my plans to attend many festivities
but I did get down to McLaren Vale–again–where it is always a few degrees cooler and where the exciting final stage and punishing Willunga Hill would determine the overall tour winner.
Before you think you will be bored with more photos from McLaren Vale, think again. This year I bring you different behind-the-scenes pictures of things you do not always get to see on the television broadcasts.
|Tour Down Under 2019 Ice Towel|
Hats off to the organisers for the
coolest, most useful merchandising idea ever
(in more ways than one)!
It was certainly appreciated as
Adelaide sweltered through January.
This year, I was on a mission. Let's just say, "I got what I came for!"
As usual, we arrived in McLaren Vale early to enjoy the fresh summer morning. (By the time the starting gun fires, the late morning sun is high in the sky ready to burn anyone who forgets to sunscreen themselves.)
It was lovely just to stroll down the main street and enjoy the atmosphere, full of smiles, activity and anticipation.
The 2019 Tour Down Under is the first one without former cyclist and commentator Paul Sherwen who passed away suddenly on 2 December 2018. As discussed in the previous blog entry, there's a lot of love for Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett in South Australia. They were frequent visitors to the McLaren Vale area and won the hearts of locals who are feeling the loss.
The hospital fundraiser displayed a large sign depicting a photograph of Paul with the words:
with love & thanks from the people of
McLaren Vale, McLaren Flat,
Willunga and Aldinga.
|An early morning tour group experiencing parts of the course before the race.|
There are many tour groups for cycling enthusiasts.
Locals decorated the corner of Tatachilla Road and Caffrey Street with tribute banners for Paul Sherwen.
|Tribute banner made by local fans|
"Paul Sherwen. Life Membership. Willunga Hill."
|Tribute banner by local fans|
also on the corner of Tatachilla Road and Caffrey Street, McLaren Vale.
"Paul the Pie Man 1956–2018. Thanks "Climber" "
|Some people used the event as an opportunity to protest.|
|The Tour Down Under teams arrive!|
Main Road, McLaren Vale
We had a great view of pre-race activities as the team buses rolled in, jam-packed with gear–bikes, toolboxes, picnic boxes, first aid kits and racks of helmets and whatever else I'll never know. All I do know is that some of those buses, when they opened their tailgates, had not an inch of space to spare.
All the team buses are the same except for one–the bus of the Bora-Hansgrohe team–which arrived with dark tinted windows so no one could see inside. This bus carried one of the biggest celebrities in world cycling, the World Champion Slovakian rider, Peter Sagan. He has been a huge favourite of fans, especially female fans! He's a bit of a 'rockstar' on the cycling circuit.
sporting the Slovakian flag and
World Champion stripes
on his guernsey.
|Peter Sagan signing autographs|
as team-mate Daniel Oss looks on.
He is a most extraordinary rider. His skills are remarkable. That comes from a background of mountain and off-road biking. He exudes natural talent and the things he can do on a bike leave me, a former commuter road cyclist, in awe. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that he was born attached to a bike–he's like a gymnast with wheels.
|Italian rider, Daniel Oss|
who is often the lead-out rider
for the German Bora-Hansgrohe team.
Thank you Peter Sagan from happy fans!
Peter Sagan's team-mate and right-hand man, Daniel Oss, is another rider that I hoped to meet. He is a very aggressive rider in the races and friendly with the public but he appeared almost shy as he sat in the background while Peter Sagan did his thing with the fans. Everybody's preparation is different.
|Peter Sagan is signing my Tour Down Under hat|
Daniel Oss is waiting quietly at the back of the bus with the dark tinted windows.
Meanwhile photographers, amateur and professional, snap away!
|Pre-race activities at the Bora-Hansgrohe team|
Austrian rider Gregor Mühlberger (#15) waits on his bike.
Another rider chats to friends in the foreground.
|Austrian National Champion Lukas Pöstlberger|
with team staff.
One of the remarkable aspects of the Tour Down Under is that it is a totally portable event. The teams and organisers bring everything they need on the day and within hours of the event finish, it is all packed up and gone. You would never know there had been a world-class international sporting event earlier in the day.
The only indications in McLaren Vale the night before, were orange traffic cones along the main street preventing parking along the kerb where the race barriers etc. will be needed.
|First job on arrival: unpack and assemble bikes!|
These bikes belong to Team Lotto Soudal
|Hooking up the technology|
Riders wear a heart monitor and
radio pack with microphone and earpiece
to communicate with the team car during the race.
|Team Lotto Soudal's bikes|
and looking into the back of the
Bahrein-Merida team bus.
|Most important: Sunscreen!|
Norwegian Carl Fredrik Hagen from Team Lotto Soudal is doing the right thing.
Many people have been seriously sunburnt because they underestimated the power of the Australian sun.
Make sure you have sunscreen on underneath your cycling gear too:
some mesh cycling guernseys are no match for the sun.
They might be designed for cooling but not sun protection. In Australia, one needs both.
If you don't believe me, see Louie Meintjes here on Facebook or here on Twitter.
|This is Peter Sagan's bike being scanned by the Technical Commissaire.|
The Technical Commissaire checks every bike to ensure it meets regulation standards
and that there are no cheating devices like hidden motors etc.
|"Team Jay" polo shirts|
supporting Australian rider Jay McCarthy
|Jay McCarthy |
making time for 'selfies'
So much activity! Assembling and tuning bikes, checking gear, race registration, media interviews and public relations, heart monitors and radio packs, helmets, shoes, warm-ups, team meetings and, if there's time, a chance for social catch-up!
|Introducing a young fan to the team …|
|… plus a commemorative photo.|
See the result posted on Jay McCarthy's Instagram account.
|'Local Adelaide Boy' Rohan Dennis|
and Italian Domenico Pozzovivo
chat to fans and friends on the sidelines.
Every year the Tour Down Under has provided tours for all sorts of groups who seek to get 'up close and personal' with the riders and behind-the-scenes access. Of course, these are available for a higher price.
This type of experience would be a great introduction to the world of cycling for those who haven't been before and want to soak in the atmosphere of the event or for those who are familiar with cycling and want a little more from their race day experience.
I had a great race day experience because I managed to get the autographs I wanted!
|Meeting champion Australian rider Adam Hansen of Team Lotto Soudal|
who kindly autographed my souvenir bidon.
|Crowds gather for the starting line countdown: "… three … two … one … GO!"|
This year, I collected a few things with you in mind so I can share them physically and not just photographically!
I've put together two little souvenir goodie bags to give away right here on the Lupey Loops blog. It doesn't matter where in the world you are, if you would like a chance to receive one of these, please leave a comment below before midnight, 28 February 2019 (Australian Central Daylight Savings Time +10 hrs 30 mins GMT).
Early in March I will put all the names in a hat and the first two drawn will be the recipients. Only one entry per person please. The results will be posted in a comment at the end of this blog entry. If time and energy permits, There might also be a separate announcement in a new blog post as well.
Feel free to leave your email address in your comment so that I can notify you directly should your name be drawn. Be sure to check back to see the results.
I am very lucky to have a loyal readership and to have made such lovely friends through blogging. This is my way of giving back to everyone who supports Lupey Loops and a bit of fun for all of us.
So comment away, my friends!
|The last pass of the peloton along Main Road, McLaren Vale|
viewed from the Ellis Park Rotunda
|January weather report for South Australia|
Hot, hot, HOT!
Adam Blythe (Great Britain), Twitter @AdamBlythe89: https://twitter.com/AdamBlythe89
Adam Hansen (Australia):
Caleb Ewan (Australia):
Carl Fredrik Hagen (Norway): https://www.cfhagen.com/
Daniel Oss (Italy): http://www.danieloss.it
- "Talking Cycling with Daniel Oss, Bora Hansgrohe–#justride", Ride Media, 22 January 2019: https://www.ridemedia.com.au/interviews/talking-cycling-with-daniel-oss-bora-hansgrohe-justride/
Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy): http://www.domenicopozzovivo.it/
Gregor Mühlberger (Austria): https://gregormuehlberger.com/
Heinrich Haussler (Australia): http://teambahrainmerida.com/haussler-heinrich/
James Knox (Great Britain), Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamesknoxx
- Hunter, David, "Riders to Watch in 2019 – James Knox", Ciclismo Internacional, 6 December 2018: http://www.ciclismointernacional.com/riders-to-watch-in-2019-james-knox/
Jay McCarthy (Australia):
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaymccarthy/
- Photo result: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs8PMfRndHC/
Louis Meintjes (South Africa), professional cyclist, Twitter @LouisMeintjes, 14 Jan 2018: https://twitter.com/LouisMeintjes
Lukas Pöstlberger (Austria):
- Facebook, @Poestipower: https://www.facebook.com/Poestipower/
- Twitter, @poesti_92: https://twitter.com/poesti_92
Peter Sagan (Slovakia): https://www.petersagan.com/
Rohan Dennis (Australia): http://www.rohandennisofficial.com/
SA Health sunburn advice, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sahealth/photos/a.229215153807721/2152871394775411
Thomas de Gendt (Belgium), Twitter @DeGendtThomas: https://twitter.com/DeGendtThomas
Tomasz Marczynski (Poland): http://www.tomaszmarczynski.com/
Related Posts on Lupey Loops
"Tour Down Under 2018 Photos (Part 2)", 10 January 2019: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com/2019/01/tour-down-under-2018-photos-part-2.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