Under the watchful eye of spectators on Willunga Hill, Richie porte (BMC) eclipsed the queen stage of the 2016 Santos Tour Down Under in what was a blistering win against former team mate Sergio Henao (SKY). What now makes 3 years of dominance atop the southern climb, Porte’s win means that the Tasmanian now climbs to second on the General Classification and is only 9 seconds down on Simon Gerrans (OGE) with one stage left of the race.
But aside from Porte’s glory, stage 5 is always a spectacle unmatched to any other of the race stages. The charm of McLaren Vale and the charisma of the township of Willunga make for a perfect match to host the all-important Queen stage of the race. The wine region of the south is always mobbed with cyclists and cycling enthusiasts that the area comes alive with cheering, racing and the scents of summer.
Cycling is a sport like no other. It allows spectators to gain insanely close access to its athletes that is unlike any other sport in the world. You can pull up at the lights and end up having a conversation with olympians about their wedding (like I did this week) and can be driving along a suburban road and a former Grand Tour Winner is out training with his teammates. It’s a sport where it’s free to watch, free to support and takes the world on a journey through some of the most picturesque parts of the globe. All eyes are on France in July, but all eyes are on Adelaide in January.
There is something about the sport that is able to capture an atmosphere unlike any other. It’s indescribable, you have to experience it to understand it. There’s just something about men in lycra, riding a road that can generate such an aura of excitement. It’s electric.