TDU Stage 5: Snapper Point to Willunga
We got the chance to get up close and personal like no other opportunity today. We got our spot early just opposite the sign-on board, just shy of the start line.
We had close encounters with Oscar Pereiro and George Hincapie, and watched all the stars sign on - Michael Rogers, Stuart O'Grady, and a contemplative Alan Davis, still in the ochre leader's jersey.
Becauase we'd gotten such a good response to the LANCE SIGN HERE jerseys yesterday, we decided to get them out on show again today. They again attracted attention, from the stage premier Mike Rann, and Channel Seven sports guy Mark Beretta. I was even interviewed by a Channel Seven reporter, which despite my best efforts (dropping phrases like "superstar like Armstrong" and "iconic event" and "travelled from Queensland and we'll be back") appears to have ended up on the cutting room floor.
And still no attention from Mr Armstrong. We got just a couple of glimpses of him through the peleton but our attention was not reciprocated.
As soon as the peleton rolled out of Snapper Point we headed straight for Willunga Hill. Always trust a scientist with a map - Andy got us to a plumb parking spot about 200m from the action on Willunga Hill. Sure, we had to cross a major highway on foot... but everyone else was doing it. And noone died, right?
We got our position about halfway up the hill and got to see the entire field pass by three times.
Yes, three times! That never happens in the Tour de France!
We had to rely on Team Nokia to get the final result for the day, then ventured into the heart of Adelaide to experience the tour village festivities. Each of the teams has a booth in which each afternoon, the mechanics work on the riders' bikes. Today Cadel Evans was also there to sign autographs.
The Tour Down Under offers a different experience to the Tour de France. While we were looking forward to seeing Alan Davis defend the ochre jersey on tomorrow's final stage, we were disappointed that the week had gone so fast.
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009