Well, here I am back in Perth - finished the Sat report in the Qantas lounge in Adelaide but honestly did not have the steam to put my thoughts down about the final day. Perhaps that was because of the 70k 'spin out the legs' ride I did earlier on (Parkside to Glenelg to Largs Bay and then back to Parkside), combined with a complete walkaround lap of the circuit race course.
So - we all know circuit races can be circuit races - that is, a bit boring. But as it turned out, that was not the case with this one, due primarily the fact that Wes Sulzberger (Uni SA, go figure) got in an early break and for about 5 laps or so was the virtual race leader. Allan Davis was back in the main group, and with the break having over a minute gap, and Sulzberger only 20 or so sec behind Davis in GC - well it doesnt take a rocket scientist, or even a geologist to figure out that something had to happen. So, QuickStep went to the front and put the hammer down - but the gap did not close for the first couple of laps -tempo up - gap comes down - but only until there are about 2 laps to go. Then Cameron Meyer and Ryder Heysedal counter attcked, dragging about 4 others with them. Big moment of the day came when Lance bridged across to the the break, but could not find enough help (or help with enough strength) to keep everything from coming back together on the last lap. So it was a group sprint - with Rabobank driving for Graeme Brown, and Robbie hiding in the wings. But at the line it was Chicci (Liquigas) taking the honors as Brown pulled his foot out w/200 to go. Replays showed a ton of contact between Brown and McEwen with each one saying the other interfered. Commisaires did not see it that way so the results stood. Brownie was pretty pissed - I actually ran into him cooling his heels up the street and got his autograph - he was not a happy camper.
As you can see from the photos you can get pretty close to the action - too close as McEwen will attest to. The one with Jens in it is on the KOM up Montefiore hill -as usual Jens was in the thick of it. And finally there is a nice on of Meyer and Heysedal in the final break before Lance bridged over.
The wrap -up :
Definitely going to do this again next year. I think riding all the stages (bar the two circuit races) would be totally cool (and, I believe, do-able). The riding in Adelaide is fantastic - a lot of variety and all of it accessible from downtown Adelaide. So I am looking for volunteers. Remember, Lance said he is coming back next year and I would be willing to bet there will be more top line riders coming next year.