My first stop was once again the Breakwater Bridge which the peloton hit about 15 minutes into the race. With threatening, grey skies overhead, I joined a group of locals and waited for the travelling circus to arrive. This they did with the usual parade of zooming motorbikes and support cars accompanied by the expected cavalcade of police vehicles.
|All together over the Breakwater Bridge|
|The entourage crossing the Queen's Park Bridge ahead of the riders|
Again the riders disappeared, although not so quickly this time, as the field was quite spread and their next move was a sharp left up the 20% gradient on Melville Ave.
|The lead riders clear the bridge with the peloton hot on its heels|
|I suspect the front rider was not so much smiling for the camera as grimacing|
Once they had passed, I followed on foot at a much more leisurely pace and headed off to my next viewing location overlooking Queen's Park at the top of the Deviation. Once again, I waited with another group of locals as the riders hit the first lap of the 20km street circuit around Geelong. I estimated a wait of about 20 minutes and I was pretty close to the mark.
|The leading trio hit the Deviation|
|The peloton about to descend|
With thunderous-looking grey clouds in the background, the field were over the hill and gone in short order, on their way to climb the cement works hill, (known by us locals as "Cementies"). At about this point, the rain started to come down again - harder. My next test was to see if I could ride the 5km back to the Barwon Bridge in town in the time it took them to ride the 10.5km to the same point via Geelong West and the Waterfront. And the answer was? Not quite. I did make it to the opposite side of the river in time to grab a few more snaps but then had to cross the river and wait to catch them on the third (and final) lap of the street circuit.
This I managed to do and set myself up at the bottom of the bend in the hope of some good action shots. Although the man of the moment didn't oblige by appearing front and centre in any of my photos, I did get a reasonable shot of some of the Team Cannondale-Garmin boys taking the bend for the final time.
|Team Cannondale-Garmin rounding the bend on Barrabool Road|
Then there was just one final climb for me, up from the river and down to the Waterfront, hopefully in time for the big finish. This time, I arrived with more than a few minutes to spare and took up position about 100m from the finish line to wait.
|The sprint for the finish line|
|Cadel and son Robel heading for the presentation area after the race|