Saturday, November 28, 2009

Curacao Dreamin'

See Blog “Frank and Andy’s Curacaon Vacation”, the 2008 version.

So, another year, another Curacaon Vacation. The location is the same, the trees and beaches are the same, the kissing dolphins are the same, the attempts to even out Cyclists’ Tans are the same, the awkward tangles with diving gear and fishing lines are the same, the fishing in the deepsea and Da Boyz are the same. Everything is pretty much the same, give or take a few variations of frightening print boardshorts. Some (*cough*BertieBott*cough*) are barbie pink, with complimentary purple and turquoise stripes. But apart from those eye-catchers, everything is pretty much identical to the last three trips to Cycling Tropicana Central.

You may be thinking “Jolly Moses, wouldn’t four trips in a row to the same place at the same time of year with the same people doing the same things get a little old?” Well, the long and short of it is, no, not really. Andy loves himself a Curacaon Vacation, that’s for sure, so don’t be expecting his end-of season race-holiday to change scenery any time soon. Curacao is the shiz. It’s the End-of-Season Cool Young Cyclists’ Hang Of Choice. As if Andy’s going to branch out and do something radical like change locations. He’s a Cool Young Cyclist after all. Where else is he gonna hang?

And anyways, there have been one or two changes from last year. Bertie Bott’s barbie boardshorts, for one. Andy had a pina colada instead of just a plain old corona. Brice Feillu hung about getting sunburnt and wrestling madly with his flippers in the shallows of Curacao Bay (I made that up btw). Cav the Gent did the chivalrous thing and brought his new lovely lady with him to paddle about looking sexy together. And the whole Schleck Fam (minus the Schleck Patriarch) rocked up to party like its ’99 in the tropics. Oh, and Frank proposed to Martine.

Gotta love the Curacao Dreaming’...
Relevant disclaimers and all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

As the Wheel Turns... And the Gears Click...

This blog is a long time coming. And what has happened in the four months that transpired between this post and my last?

Well, Bertie Bott Contador won the Tour de France. Yay for him. Actually, not yay for him. His winning was a boring, predictable, anti-climactic formality. Just one of those little old TdF wins, a maillot jaune to go straight to the pool room along with all the hundreds of other leader’s jerseys. Andy, could you kindly win next year, please? I want someone to win the 2010 Tour who is not totally brain-dead boring. And who doesn’t have teeth like terrible tombstones.

Big Jens obviously won the Maillot Man Classification. Obviously. I mean, who else could?

The Vuelta happened. At some point. Some Spaniards won. I think.

Trade Month happened. Cadellio left Silence-bloody-Lotto at-bloody-last. I was starting to worry – after all, it was meant to have happened three years ago and never did. Oh, and half of Saxo Bank bailed. Well, Kurt Asle did, anyway, as I was scandalised to see. Maybe I’m retarded, but why would Kurt Asle leave Saxo Bank? Yeah, I’ve heard all the ‘new horizons’ and ‘changes of scenery’ and ‘wanted different things’ excuses, but underneath all that, what was the real reason Kurt Asle would possibly leave the best team in Pro Cycling at the moment?

Jonny Bellis came a gutser. And I don’t want to trash the boy, but aside from all the forensic investigations, what does a little old thing called Common Sense think a 21-year-old guy was doing at 3am Saturday morning, on his scooter, hitting an unmoving WALL at high speeds? Hmmmmmm. Let me think about this one. It’ll come to me eventually.

Cadel won the World Championships. Haha to the doubters (no names). But haha anyway. Now, you see, if Cadel did more of that ‘attacking business’, he would be sort of unstoppable. So here’s hoping he remembers to attack when he’s going up hills, coz it pays like a dole-bludger’s payday.

Andy did a bit of Twittering. Not much, but a bit. And he showed us he’s not great at spelling or grammar. No offence. On that note, I don’t know who writes Andy’s blogs, but I’m pretty sure it aint him. The spelling is too good. The sentences make sense.

Mark ‘Look at Me’ Cavendish upgraded his girlfriend. What a gentleman. Cav: “Hey, you know what? I’m like the best sprinter in the world, and everyone damn well knows it. I have a new, bigger paycheque. I have a new villa in Italy. I have a new Audi R8. I need a new girlfriend too. A hotter one than my childhood sweetheart FIANCE. How about Miss Italia Monde?” Words can’t describe how proud I am of Cav. He’s just such a classy guy.

Andy rocked up to the Unveiling of 2010's TdF Route. In high-waisted jeans. Belted. I think I'll leave it there.

The O’Grader showed us that tiny squeaky-voiced Casey Stoner is more man than him on an 800cc motorbike. That’s got to hurt.

Andy and Frank did something weird and decided to go to Curacao this year. Out of character or what? I was pretty floored by that decision. Curacao: Since WHEN?!

Frank's getting himself hitched after all. Like I prophesied he would during last year's Curacaon Vacation. I so knew. I have a fifth sense.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Man of the Tour Classification
(Main article: The Maillot Noir, or in colloquial terms, “The Maillot Man”)

The Maillot Noir is awarded to the rider who is the Most Man during a stage. Inspired by the unsung heroes of the peloton – The Hot Ones. The Hardcore Ones. The Fully Loaded Men. They need some kind of thanks for lifetime services to lycra. This jersey – the Maillot Noir - is that thanks.

The competition gives points to the Real Men of the peloton. Points can be awarded on flat stages, mountain stages, half-and-half stages, intermediate stages, time trials, team time trials, rest days, you name it. If it’s Manly, it’s on the board.

Points for Maillot Noir Gained By:
10cm+ expanse of chest showing whilst riding.
Jersey tails flapping and bibshorts straps exposed.
Cycling Like You Mean It. Hah.
Crashing and getting back up and going for it with broken bones and blood running down your limbs.
Being Drinks Bitch. It’s manly, alright.
Not getting dropped. Like Cav on mountains.
Breaking away and doing all the work. Like Big Jens.
Not being on Astana. Like Astana.
Being on Saxo Bank. Like Saxo Bank.
Having a brother in your team (that wins). Like Frank and Andy. Or Romain and Brice.
Being Australian. Like Cadel. And Heinrich. He’s ours Germany
Wearing armwarmers.
Wearing crosses.
Filling out your lycra (saggy arse-areas result in minus points).
Not wearing skivvies underneath jerseys. (An unexposed chest area is a big minus.)
Not posing stupidly for Tim de Waele.
Leaning on the Manbar.
Beating Cav.
Winning. It’s hot.

Man of the Tour Classification
As It Stands After 2 Weeks of Le Touring
1. Big Jens: Because he is Big Jens. And he breaks away like a Bat out of Hell and then does all the work because he’s Too Much Man to do otherwise. And he has 5 kids. What a man.
2. Heinrich Haussler: A Little Aussie Battler. He also broke away from a breakaway and WON. He makes a hot drink’s bitch. And he gets up mountains like no other sprinter can. Hardcore.
3. Brice Feillu: He broke away from a break away and WON. He consistently wears his jersey open and flapping in the breeze, with bibshorts exposed. He is also rather nice looking.
4. Andy Schleck: Has really gotten Manly this year when he started to open the jersey and expose his lucky medallion and gold cross. But he has a way to go. Breaking away BEFORE Contador would be Tres Manly. Beating Contador would be Tres Tres Manly.
5. Sexy Sorensen: WON on a broken-away breakaway. These Men are hot. And he’s a totally forgotten hero, so winning was just so good and Manly for him.
6. Frank Schleck: Hasn’t done much, but he will, so he’s on the list. And he gets points just because he always has his jersey unzipped, and he has a brother in the team. Masculine as.
7. Cadel Evans: Everything’s going horribly wrong for poor Cadellio, but it’ll get better. And if anyone tries hard against the odds of Crappest Team Ever, it’s Cadel. And that’s Manly.
8. Fabian Cancellara: He’s usually fairly safe on the Manly standings, but Fabian’s taken some hits recently. Anyone who bitches at fellow breakers-away to ‘go back coz it’s not fair, we’ll get caught coz of you’ is not okay in my books. And it’s not like he won that stage anyway.
9. Rinaldo Nocentini: He’s not on here coz he’s good, or even that he’s particularly Manly. He’s on here coz he kept the Yellow Jersey away from Masterlance in laughable style.
10. Masterlance Armstrong: Better than I gave him credit for, and able to keep up with the young whipper snappers on the climbs, thus far. At 37, I’ll give him some Manly credit.
NOT LISTED. Bertie Contador. He’s not squeezing one Manly point out of me because, while he might be winning and he might be a little savage on those pedals, he’s not pretty, he does ultra-lame pea-shooter gestures when he wins and he’s NOT Manly. And this is the Man of the Tour Contest after all, so Bertie Bott aint gonna win this one, at least.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sussing Le Pre-Tour

Well, we’re getting close now. It’s about that time of the year when friends start shooting suss looks at each other and polarising to opposite ends of the table. It’s when the colours come on and the gloves come off. When the sly digs at other people’s favourite riders emerge like rats from a flooded drainpipe. And when perfectly rational adults are transformed from “supporters” to hysterical teenage fangirls at a Jonah Brothers concert. Jonas Brothers, whatevs.

Yes... it’s Tour de France time...

I’m excited. Well, I’ve been excited for about 11 months and six days, but now I’m getting REALLY excited. This is the highlight of the year for any cyclist or cyclist fan. Especially if you’re a cyclist fan who has been denied her fix of cycling all year because her TV stations don’t show fricken anything. Except Paris-Roubaix, but that was a waste of time because Boner won and he’s gotta be the World’s Biggest Cycling Bimbo Of All Time. So anyway, point is, I’ve been unjustly deprived of most of the cycling calendar and consequently am very much looking forward to live, unedited, Phil Liggett-commentated 5-hour long stints of pure Tour de France. Bliss.

Top Five Cyclists Who Will Probably Win the Tour de France.

CADEL EVANS. I don’t care how much he’s loathed (unjustly I might add – all he did was bash people), Cadellio deserves a break. He’s thankfully not the favourite this year, which will remove the pressure that was obviously chaffing a bit last year. So with the spotlight on The Favourites, Cadel should be free to breakaway on Mont Ventoux with his ever reliable silence lotto boys. Sweet sweet justice.

ALBERTO CONTADOR. I don’t want him to win, but I’d be living under a rock not to have noticed his undeniable favourite status. So, Bertie, you do what you have to do; use up the old ones first (as in Masterlance), and have some sprint-offs with fellow youngen’ Andy Schleck. While you’re there, you and Andy can have a text-messaging competition – first one to text 100 girls in a mountain stage wins. Hopefully then Bertie won’t notice Cadel slipping away on Ventoux...

DENI MENCHOV. The Legendary Russian is just getting started. After a stellar Giro, he’ll be on the angry Russian rampage and gunning for the overall. And he’s so interesting that he really doesn’t need any more superlatives than that.

FRANK SCHLECK. He’s been a little overlooked with all the Team Masterlance and Andy Schleck Is Mercx Incarnate excitement, but underestimating him would be retarded. He’s done almost as well as Andy this year – won a few stages here and there, then the Tour of Luxembourg. He’s going under the radar because he doesn’t look scary and because he isn’t particularly aggressive. But give him a chance and Team Masterlance will be staring at Frank’s (and Saxo Bank’s) burnt rubber. And I mean, simply on a personal level, how hard must it be for Frank? I’d be such a jealous asshole if I was him.

[Picture it: Your little bro Andy swans straight into CSC/Saxo Bank (and Overlord Riis’s good books) at a much younger age than you at the time, and never has to go through various Italian drug-cheating teams before making the Big Break. Then, after you having been the best-looking in your family for most of your life, Andy suddenly blossoms into undeniably The Hottest Schleck Ever. Then everyone calls him Mercx Incarnate, interviews him, and ignores the fact that you’re STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HIM AND PROBABLY DID BETTER IN THE BLOODY RACE ANYWAY. Then Andy goes and receives all the marketing deals, and the plethora of fangirls abruptly stop ogling you and go and mob your little brother instead. Frank’s been updated, methinks. There’s a Younger, Hotter, More-Talented and Possibly More Interesting version in town, and Frank’s been relegated to the shelf. Until he wins this year’s Tour, obviously.]

LEVI LEIPHEIMER. So he’s a good rider. So he can win some things now and then, namely the Tour of California. He doesn’t seem to be able to win anything else, and while I’m sure he is a serious contender for the overall, I just can’t take him seriously. Usually, I forget he’s on the planet, let alone in the peloton. And while I won’t discount his riding ability, if he wins the Tour I’ll be mighty annoyed. It’ll make the Tour de France just as boring as last year’s. SURELY someone with a personality can win; is that too much to ask?

Top Five Riders Who Should Win the Tour de France But Wont.

CARLOS SASTRE. He’s washed up without a Schleck Express. But that’s not the only reason he won’t win. I’ve really come to dislike this man. It started when he callously pinched the Maillot Jaune off Frank. Then he went on to not even bother thanking him and Andy for winning him the freaking Tour. It got worse when he deserted. I was on Overlord Riis’s side for that. Riis: “Hey, Sastre, we won you the Tour! Let’s party like it’s 1999!” Sastre: “Or not. I’m throwing a temper tantrum STRAIGHT AFTER I won the Tour de France because the Schlecks are your priority. Coz you totally backed Frank and not me on Alpe d’Huez. You bastardo. I’m off.” But there’s more. Sastre went on to defect to Cervelo, a team far too good for him, and then he selfishly and single-handedly destroyed a teammate’s dreams of winning a stage during the Giro. Unforgiveable. And then – wait for it – he prevents Simon Gerrans (a stage winner in both last year’s TdF and this year’s Giro) from riding in the freaking TOUR DE FRANCE because Sastre (and I quote) “wanted a Spanish rider”. *stunned silence* That’s why Sastre won’t win the Tour. He’s a selfish little man who ruins hopes and dreams of young riders. And he’s already won a Tour. Move over and give someone else a go.

ANDY SCHLECK. He’s good, but I don’t think he’s going to win this year’s Tour. He’ll win some other year’s Tour, and maybe more than one, but not this time. Too young, too inexperienced, too unpredictable. If Frank gets a millisecond ahead of Andy, Bjarne will bank the whole team behind older bro. And that means Andy’s relegated to domestiquing. Because I think, while the public adore Andy the most, Bjarne won’t ignore Frank because they’re best pals and Frank is still Maillot Jaune-experienced. Sorry Andy. Book in early for next year’s Tour. It’s probably yours already.

ROMAN KREUZIGER. Good – really good - but probably not good enough. He’ll get close. He’ll challenge for stage wins and he’ll challenge for the white rider’s jersey (again), but he won’t win. His team is not equipped for supporting a champion. Even if Roman gets himself into a yellow jersey, Liquigas won’t help him keep it because they simply don’t have a bloody clue how to. Instead, they’ll help Bennati win (and lose) sprints (to Cavendish).

KIMMI K. I don’t care enough to even comment. He won’t, just coz.

MASTERLANCE ARMSTRONG. He’s in decent enough form, but let’s face it: he’s not going to challenge the leaders. He’ll have a few flashbacks to his glory days over the 3 weeks, where he’ll break away in the mountains, looking sort-of invincible, but they’ll probably only last 1 or 2 kilometres and then he’ll get caught again by a sniggering Bertie. Or Andy in between texting all his girlfriends. Or Roman K. No matter who, Masterlance will be upstaged by the young upstarts. It just will happen.

So crack open the tia maria and put on the footy franks - its Tour de France time! For me it means 3 straight weeks of graveyard shifts because the TdF starts, for Australians and other southern hemisphereans, at 10pm and finishes at 2am (if you include Taste Le Tour, which any sane person would because Gabrielle Gate is just such a freaking legend). So I’m going to stock up on numerous forms of caffeine (coffees, mochas, hot chocolates, cold chocolates, hard chocolates, soft chocolates, every chocolates), and incalculable packets of chips, and then I’ll pull up a rug and entrench myself on the couch for 24 days. Sounds good to me.

...Relevant disclaimers and all... photos aren't mine, big surprises...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some Other Cyclists Worth Looking At

There are a few cyclists in this hallowed Team of Saxo Bank that find their unique brand of Hotness overshadowed by Frank’s sideburns+mullet combo, Andy’s overbite and Fabian’s hair. But these three lads are not, despite such astounding physical attributes, the only Cyclists Worth Looking At In Saxo Bank.

And anyway, the Schlecks are getting pretty commercial now. Every man and his dog knows who the Schlecks are and that they’ll be Tour Favourites. Every man and his dog in the Eastern European Advertising Company wants them for their shaving cream or their mobile phone deal, or their hairdressing salon.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys, but I think there comes a time when a person’s Attention Quota is full, and you need to start giving it to someone else. Share the love, so to speak. I mean, Andy Schleck isn’t the first and last pro Cyclist to have nice fluffy hair and smooth skin and a pretty pout, after all.

Oh no…

More specifically, three Danes have stolen my attention and taken it hostage. They are as follows: Matti Breschel, Alex Nicki Slyvest Rasmussen, and Michael 'Morks' Morkov.

Matti Breschel deserves attention because he’s a New York ex-model. And a decent sprinter. He has that Cold But Hot thing going and really lovely curvy lips. He’ll be big one day soon. And he came tenth in Paris Roubaix. I know tenth is still tenth and not first, but it was a hardcore race and he did better than Fabian after all. And everyone knows Fabian is supposed to rock the cobblestones.

Alex Nicki Sylvest Rasmussen (what a name), deserves attention because he is a very big man and therefore hard to miss. Eight kilos more man than Fabian himself and a similar set of v8 thighs. And refreshingly, Razza doesn’t actually look much like a cyclist. He doesn't have inch-thick upper arms and a bony chest and thighs slimmer than mine to make me feel fat. He actually looks more like a Bouncer than a mountain-climber.

Morks deserves attention because he’s Razza’s mate. He’s a semi-cool Dane and he and Razza are bff's so he has an automatic VIP pass into Club Danmark. He isn't actually the hottest thing since sliced bread but he and Razza come as a sort of 'buy one get one free' deal.

So what about you ladies in the Cycling Blogworld? Anyone catch your eye who is worth mentioning that isn't a Schleck? Now don't get me wrong - I love myself a Schleck. And I'm not about to turn on them and stop caring or staring. I'm just being fair to the rest of the hotness on Saxo Bank and acknowledging the Good Looks That Be outside of Mondorf-Les-Bains. So, anyone? You may go Peloton-wide if Saxo Bank is too limited.

[Oh, and none of the photos are mine. Relevant disclaimers and all that]

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meeting The Sexy Bankers. Or, Running Into/Stalking Big Jens

I realise this is like 1 gazillion years late. But better late than never, right?

So anyway, back to the Tour Down Under. There we were, bopping around Glenelg, shopping, browsing, cheering random Cyclists as they buzzed past on wannabe ‘I’ve dusted off the old Repco coz the Tour Down Under is on’ bikes. And then the Cyclists ceased to be random Cyclists and started to be Notable Riders. Lampre pedaled past in their Barbie-pink and we hollered and waved and got a holler and wave in return. Then we ventured into Moseley Square because there was just too much accumulated lycra to ignore.

But we were disappointed. Sure, Fuji was there, sitting around a table enjoying some sunlight and the odd iced coffee. Sure, Quickstep even rocked up. But they didn’t matter. Alas, we left feeling less than hopeful. But we figured we’d run into someone we really wanted to run into the next day, so we left to fight another day.

In the car, we turned left so we could roll past Moseley Square for one last quick perve. Nothing had changed, so we continued on past Magic Mountain and the numerous marinas. Turned down Anzac Highway and ran smack bang into a mini Peleton of Saxo-Bankers. Well, we didn’t actually run into them. That wouldn’t have been very funny. Coz even though we were in a 4WD diesel Landcruiser, we probably still would have come off second best against Big Jens wait no sorry I think I mean Sexy S the Alpha M.

As you could imagine, brakes squealed, tyres went bald, and we perfected the instant 180. We were all into finally meeting Da Boyz until we arrived back at Moseley Square and were struck down with stage fright. It was okay until we saw them entrenched inside a cafĂ© looking all united and imposing and downright unapproachable. So we sat down and pretended we had things to do like put on sunscreen and check our phones for imaginary text messages and glance furtively at the cafe window. It was actually quite pitiful, really. None of us could work up the courage. And the Schlecks weren’t even there to make us feel self conscious about our less-than-prepared-to-meet-hot-dudes appearances. Or less-than-prepared-to-meet-the-Alpha M appearances.

So we left.

Nah, not really. Eventually we stood up on shaking legs and walked towards the cafe. It was a long walk, too. Seemed to take far too long. The boys were all sitting inside sipping on their iced coffees and browsing through the ‘Tiser and chatting away. Anders Lund, a youngin’ on Saxo-Bank, was closest to the door so we spoke to him first and he was lovely and took pity on us coz we were terrified and couldn’t remember the word ‘team’. We asked him to sign our CSC jerseys even though they weren’t CSC any more and from him, the jerseys got passed around from man to man. We chatted to Anders until the jerseys reached the last man on the line, Big Jens. After that, it was one huge Big Jens Party. He is just such a bloody legend. He gave us training tips for god’s sakes. And he told us he’s “maybe a little crazy, yes, to be a cyclist.” Coz he loves pain. He’s so hardassed. Later he asked us if we were going to put the pictures we took on youtube and when we said we probably wouldn’t he nudged us and went all sooky.
Then it was time for the Saxo-Bankers to cycle like they meant it back to the Hilton. As they were leaving Big Jens said it was good to meet us and that he would pass on the message to the Schleck Bruvvies from us. My sister then ran round frantically taking happy-snaps before they did a runner, and called The O’Grader “Buddy” in the process and got herself freaked out by Frank Hoj’s peace signs - seriously he was weird, but cool weird.

We walked out of the cafe or rather floated out - by then we were on cloud nine and almost ran smack into Robbie McEwen and the Katushan lads right outside the cafe. We would’ve gone to get a signature but Big Gert (as in Steegmans) looked too scary and we didn’t want to look like cycling groupies after we had just spent the last 20 minutes getting cozy with the Saxo-Bankers. So we left, for good this time.

The last stage day dawned and we were on the tram trying to find out where the hell the race actually was coz we had forgotten our program guide. Luckily, the tram stopped outside the Hilton. We weren’t going to get off for another stop or two but when we saw a few Notable Cyclists making their way to the Tour Village across the road we re-evaluated. Here we waited and took a few pics of some of the riders that went by. Some peeps stopped a few cyclists for signatures, us included if we knew the cyclist’s name and whatnot. So we got Allan Davis’s (he was the winner, by the way) and were this close to getting Pereiro’s but the he did a runner before we could. Deliberately, we’re inclined to think. As we walked back to the tram we saw Robbie barreling through traffic so we bailed him up on the tramline and got a signature after all. He didn’t stop for anyone else either so that felt special =). Then all of the riders got their bitchin’ Specialized and Pinarello’s and whatever else they had and peletonned their way down to the next stage. Us following closely behind.

Because this stage was like the Cancer Council Classic, some of Da Boyz were warming up, others were standing around team cars or socialising on the nature strip or on their manbars. Picking our way along, my sister won a gold medal in elbowing people out of the way to get to a few Notable Cyclists, including Oscar Pereiro (who’s signature we finally got, albeit grudgingly - don't be fooled by the congenial smile), Luis Leon Sanchez, Adam Hansen and Big Jens- again. While my sister was elbowing, she held out a jersey for him to sign coz he was talking about a barbie at Overlord Riis’s and he took it, glancing for a sec to see who gave it to him. He stopped talking, gave her a funny look and said: “Hey, I’ve seen you before” in his cool German accent. She said yeah seen you before too. He said “yeah at the coffee shop”. He actually remembered us from a week earlier. We must have been freakier than we’d thought. Jeepers. Or just plain cool.

So then we let him go back to his team and watched the race. Afterwards we saw Big Jens waiting at the stoplights with his bitchin’ Specialized, but enough was enough. We didn’t want to look like total stalkers after all.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tour Down Under '09: In the Beginning

Team Saxo-Bank
Originally uploaded by Silentiium
Okay, so this wasn’t actually a stage of the Tour Down Under, but it was probably the best as far as watching the cyclists go. They did 30 laps of a 1.7km course so they whizzed by 30-odd times and gave the 130,000-odd spectators something to continually cheer about.

When I arrived, Da Boyz were doing laps of the course to warm up because they needed warming up, seeing as it was only 35 degrees C at the time. But some teams were just boppin’ around in nearby cafes sipping Farmers Unions and checking out the local produce. Others were sitting on their man-bars in the middle of the road, chatting and pretending they couldn’t hear the roadside fans yelling at them.

I cheered and waved to a few Notable Riders, and most were nice enough to cheer or wave back. Saxo-Bank, for instance, were nice enough, despite the fact that the Schlecks had totally snobbed this Tour. Not that I’m bitter. So anyway, I got a decent-sized smile and wave from Frank Hoj. Oscar Pereiro was doing the rounds, just coming into the circuit, so my sisters and I yelled to him and received a look of sheer terror in return. That was somewhat sobering. We didn’t cheer quite so loudly after that.

The Team Presentations came sometime after, and Mike Rann (South Australia’s premier), prattled on for a fairly lengthy period about the ways in which South Australia Is Better Than Victoria. Because we got the Masterlance and Victoria didn’t, you see. There’s a bit of tension between our states, you could say. They stole our Grand Prix.

Anyways, Saxo-Bank received a huge cheer, the O’Grader receiving the loudest among them (surprise! He’s a South Aussie). It seems that Saxo-Bank are more popular than I knew in SA. So they got a healthy cheer, but still, it wasn’t as healthy as Team Masterlance’s. Sorry, Astana’s. As you could imagine, the crowd went off their nut over the Masterlance Arrival. Good ol’ Lance had a quick chat about the things he’d been chatting about in the paper all week, and then he was ushered off out of the reach of grasping fans.

The race itself started at 7pm, and if you saw it on TV, you’d see it was still pretty sunny and rather warm. As it was my first race attendance ever, I was pretty surprised about a few things. One, the cyclists whiz by seriously quickly. Two, if you’re close enough to the barrier, the wind from the peloton sweeps your hair back. Three, you can actually smell the cyclists’ aftershave/deodorant with that wind. Four, you can clearly hear the buzz and whirr of their chains and the clicking of their gears as they pass. Five, it was a beautiful thing.

Oh, and Robbie won, which sent the South Aussie crowd into hysterics yet again. Thank God the Masterlance stayed quiet, coz there would have been riots if he’d come anywhere near winning. Lucky he was placed roughly 70th. Correct me if I’m wrong.

So that was Day One. Day Two is next… and that was a good day ;).

[If anyone’s wondering why the photos are sparse, it’s coz my photo upload button has gone FTA. Anyone else’s done that? Or am I just missing something obvious in my own stupidity?]