Our roving reporter Sheree has been out and about at the Santos Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour chatting to fans.
I met a large number of fans who had been coming to the Santos Tour Down Under every year (it’s their 18th edition) and they believe the race just keeps getting better and better.
Many ride their bikes to the finish, stopping for a coffee en route, or ride to key points on the course. They then grab the coattails (slipstream?) of any pros heading back into Adelaide by bike after the race is done. I’d honestly never seen so many recreational cyclists at a bike race and I’ve been to a few!
The fans come from all over Australia. As far as they’re concerned, if you love cycling, there’s only one place to be during your summer holidays! Many of the groups, like the one below from central Queensland, even invest in custom kit for the trip. Methinks they’re taking the mick out of a certain WorldTour team.
The less-heralded Herald Sun Tour (Oceania Tour) takes place once the holidays are over and the kids are back at school, leaving it to be enjoyed largely by the local cycling enthusiasts.
I got chatting to Mal Cooper (in the Kill the Hill kit) and his cycling chums from nearby Eltham at an excellent coffee stop in Healesville. The boys have all been cycling for about 20 years. Former runners, they transitioned from The Hash House Harriers, a running club with a drink problem, when their legs gave way – Mal’s words not mine. Coincidentally, the boys had all been in Adelaide two weeks earlier to ride and watch the Santos Tour Down Under.
So, if you have a cycling bucket list, make sure it includes these two races. You won’t regret it!