A change of strategy today. I didn’t go to the start line, instead, I followed my intrepid hosts out into the Adelaide Hills to a spot that V thought would make good viewing. It was a fair drive, but well worth it. The climb was steep.
Whilst we stood and sat around waiting, I asked V if she could take a photo of me. How could she say no?
It is like they merged Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Patrick Dempsey into one humble superb looking bastard!
I even managed one of myself at 12mm. I think that hat makes my nose look big.
The road taken by the peloton.
Eventually, the break away group arrived. 4 in total. Calvin Watson (UniSA – Australia), Christopher Juul Jensen (Saxo – Tinkoff), Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R) and Will Clarke (Argos – Shimano).
It was back to waiting as the peloton was hardly putting their collective foot down. There was still a long way to go however, with the Corkscrew at the end before a daredevil descent into Campbelltown.
We could see the kids way down the road jumping out of their skin, so we knew the peloton was close. The choppers are also a give away. Cav’s old mate Bernie was leading them this climb looking very Euro Pro in his Sky Rapha gear.
On the back we had Ian Stannard and Andrew Fenn, looking like they were having fun.
It was then back in the car and off we went. Apparently the plan was to get in front of the peloton and go to a point where we could get some more shots, and then off to the finish. Well you know what they say about plans. As we headed towards an intersection I could see helicopters directly above. Oh oh. We were behind the main field. Bugger. Next thing I know Carl has his car all but up on 2 wheels as he hooks it around a corner and we are now flying along dirt roads. This is nothing if not interesting. We are zigging and zagging and it seems like the whole time the helicopters aren’t far away.
We come up on another intersection. Traffic is held up. Somehow we have ended up behind the peloton again after they had gone through the feed zone. Sweet percolated Merckx!
Eventually we get clear of all the traffic and it is a mad dash for the finish. I was keen to get there early, knowing there would be a crowd. I have blog fans to keep happy, so i want the best spot possible.
They drop me off not far from the finish and they head off to watch the final climb up Corkscrew on the TV live. I don my trusty hat, grab my 10kg camera bag and hot foot it to the finish. It is then the hunger pains hit. Hmm, forgot about breakfast after the 5am get up to ride Norton this morning.
As it happened, a pizza shop was giving out free samples. I had a crack at 2 different pizzas that were both superb. I then scouted out my spot for the finish. I found a possie just in front of a TV camera, plonked my kit down and then surveyed the area. Should be able to get a shot of the winner with any luck.
I then spent a good 15 minutes talking to a young bloke called Marty and his dad. Marty, 6 years old, had Downs Syndrome, but was a curious little bugger. We chatted about cycling and photography. It was a great passage of time as he got cheekier as we talked. His dad seemed happy that I was showing him the camera, but warned me not to take his photo, as he would probably get upset. He took some photos with my DSLR and giggle when he saw the image on the back. Just before they left, his dad, who’s name escapes me, asked Marty what he would like to be when he grew up?
“A cameraman dad!” was his reply. I shook his hand, gave him my free cow bell, to rolled eyes from his old man, and they were off.
Their timing was perfect. The street crossings had been closed, the commentator, who was telling us that Garoint Thomas (his pronunciation) was leading coming into the finish.
I could see them about 300m away, flying towards me. I had focus lock on Thomas just after he crossed the line and then everything went white and green. Some arsehat wearing a Skda KOM hat had stuck his fat bonce in front of my lens and completely blocked my view. I spun just in time to get 1 shot off.
As expected, some words were exchanged. I may have been a bit harsh judging by the look I got and the fact he just walked away. Actually, a few people were looking at me. The mood lightened when I exclaimed “F#&*ing tourists!”
I managed a better shot of Geraint on his way back to the finish line.
From then it was just snap snap snap until all the riders rode of into the distance. Here are some examples of what I managed.
And, to round off the days post, stay classy Adelaide!