15 October, 2011

The boys (and girls) are back in town!

Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2011, stage 2 - riding up the Deviation
For a few brief moments on Thursday and Friday, I could have sworn that the UCI World Championships had returned to town, but no, it was in fact the Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2011. Regardless, professional cycling had, however briefly, returned to Geelong and the Barwon River.
On Thursday afternoon on the second stage of its five day ride, the peloton made its way from Ballarat, to Geelong, finishing with a run into town through Fyansford and up the Deviation to finish at the top of one of the best views in town - although I doubt the competitors noticed.
The weather was perfect, the media helicopter hovered above and the valley looked a picture. First across the line was the South African rider Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, just beating out Baden Cooke in second place and Steele von Hoff in third.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2011, Barwon Valley
The rest of the peloton followed in short order. Interviews were given, presentations made and the travelling road show that is professional cycling was on its way once more. In fact, the speed with which the fencing, promotional banners and other assorted paraphenalia was dismantled was remarkable.
None of which phases the winning cyclists who receive their jerseys, kiss the girls and depart the podium to prepare themselves for the following day's ride.
Unbeknownst to me, the concurrent women's event was also run earlier in the day at the Criterium circuit on Belmont Common - also within a stone's throw of the Barwon.
The following morning however, things had moved to the Waterfront and once again in sparkling sunlight, we watched as the peloton left town and headed for Drysdale via the scenic route to Deans Marsh and Lorne before the run down to the Bellarine via the Great Ocean Road and some more spectacular views.
We waved them off and went for a coffee.

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