Record crowds line the streets of South Australia!
Taking the long route from Melbourne to Adelaide, via the coast road because of the terrible flooding in Victoria, we finally arrived 12 hrs later in a city overflowing with thousands of brightly coloured lycra clad cycling enthusiasts, all proudly riding their carbon fiber bikes and buzzing with the expectations of the week to come. The 13th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under (TDU) was underway. This is the Aussie’s Tour de France and is the official beginning of the professional cycling season attracting many of the world’s best cyclists.
|Thousands of spectators line Adelaide streets|
|Getting up close to the pros|
|Enjoying a joke with Mark Cavendish|
|The finish - stage 1 - Angaston|
|The start line - stage 3- Unley|
|Willunga Hill - stage 5|
This year’s race wasn’t without its accidents. Stage two saw three crashes in the last 4 kms – taking down , among many others, British rider and star sprinter Mark Cavendish (HTC – highroad ) and Matt Goss (HTC – highroad ). They both finished the race, but Cavendish had some severe lacerations to his face, shoulder and knee. Ben Swift, (Team Sky sprinter) also British, managed to avoid the carnage on the roads and claimed his first major win of the season.
|The start of Willunga hill climb|
The final stage this year, stage 6,The Adelaide City Council circuit, was held in the city centre. With 20 laps of a 4.5km circuit this gave spectators a wonderful view of the riders and an exciting fast end to the Tour. Again Ben Swift sprinted home to claim his second stage win of the week and put him in third position overall in this year’s Tour.
The 23yr old Cameron Meyer (Garmin – Cervelo) from Australia took the overall victory over the 762km 6 stage Tour Down Under 2011, with Matthew Goss just 2 seconds behind him in Second Place and Ben Swift taking third.
|Crossing the start line - stage 5|
|Stage 5 - and they are off!|
An amazing week, one of the most spectacular cycling events to follow and one that Crouching Tiger Tours will be adding to the itinerary of tours offered in 2012.