Like 99.998% of all cycling fans in Australia, I was glued to the coverage of the ITT from Grenoble last night. The hopes of a cycling nation were resting on the somewhat slight shoulders of Cadel Evans and his not-so-slight quads and hammies.
With a deficit of 57 seconds to Andy Schleck, Cadel entered the penultimate stage which was being held on the same course as the TT stage of the Criterium Dauphine in June of this year- a race which Cadel rode as a precursor to the Tour.
Watching the intermediate times come up on the screen quickly allayed any fears that Evans would yet again fall short. Before the half way point, Cadel had erased the deficit and was quickly establishing a strong account with time being the deposits.
It was clear before Evans even crossed the finish line that he would be wearing the yellow onto the Avenue des Champs-Élysées on Sunday and become the first Australian to wear the golden fleece as the victor of the Le Grand Boucle.
Dragging my weary butt off to bed at 2:30 this morning, I didn't foresee getting in an early morning ride and turned off my alarm (and I have been suffering from a very sore lower back for a couple of days- cause unknown but as of Sunday evening is definitely on the mend).
Today was also the big event on the local MTB scene- the Paluma Push. "The Push" is a cross country race/ride which raises funds for the local rural fire brigade in the rainforest community of Paluma- located about 60 km from Townsville. There are two categories- a recreational class which covers 40 km and a competitive class which covers an extra 20 km.
A number of our friends have taken part in this race in every edition of the race and still finish with a smile on their face. I drove up to Paluma to cheer them on at the finish line- having done this race a couple of times myself, any encouragement over those last 300 metres helps you to forget about the cramps, the lactic build up, the bumps and scrapes and is well received.
I took the camera in the hopes of getting some pics- and I did get some pictures- just not pictures of what I thought I was aiming at. I find the digital display very hard to see in bright sunlight and as a result I ended up with shots of riders and backgrounds- sometimes minus the rider. Oh well...
Steve Breen's back (at least he's in the picture)
Steve Donaldson (post Timor L'Este secret training)
Bill and Julie (minus Julie)
All in all- good fun. Now it's almost time to watch Cadel make his way in to Paris and lay claim to the Maillot Jaune and a place in this country's sporting history.
Cheers- ride safe