Yesterday the Tour down under festival kicked off with a warm up race in adelaide city. We completed 30 laps of a 1.7km circuit to help the euros get the 20hr plane flight out of there legs before the Tour Down Under race itself kicks of tomorrow.
For me it is with huge excitement to even be here. Jess and i travelled here in 2007 to watch the race and meet cycling australia officials when i was contempateing my change of sports. We both enjoyed watching the race so much that i have been desperate to racing in this event since i decided to stick with the bike. It is has become a very important race on the world cycling calendar and also an important part of australias summer of sport. When i was drug tested upon arriving on friday morning, the doping controler proudly informed me of the importance of the race and how it has more spectators than the formula 1 race had when it was held here in adelaide. That is a seriously impressive stat. Anyway more on the organisation of the event during the week.
To the warm up race and i was have been so excited about this since signing with liquigas cannondale and being told the race was on my programme. Excited for many reason but significantly my first opportunity to race alogside the greatest sportsman of all time in my opinion, Lance Armstrong. As a rower we were all in awe of lance and to actually saddle up beside in a race was an amaxing feeling. Even at 39 he still cuts an very impressive and imposing figure in the bunch and i did take a moment during the race to ponder how fortunate i was to be able to race alongside him in his final race as professional as i attempted to hold his wheel as he accellerated out of a corner. His calve muscles are certainly a sight to behold (not in a gay way off course). I did not get to speak with him but i hope during the next 6 days of racing i may get time for a chat. I actually prepared a Invite for him to attend my 21st birthday which i took with me to athens but he decided to skip those olympics and i did not get to deliver the invite, this meant he could not attend my party as he did not know it was on but i am still convinced he would have come had he known it was on, just joking!!!! Anyway i will report when i finally get a chance to atleast say hi to the great man. As for the race, it was agreat start for our team with elia viviani our track specialist taking forth and all round sprinter fabio sabatini 9th. I was having a good race keeping the boys up front and staying out of trouble till i had a flat rear tyre with 1 and 1/2 laps remaining, unfortunately the rule in small circuit races is you can take one lap out for mechanical problems exept during the final 3 laps, in this case you simple have to stop so i therfore did not finish, bugger, not a great start but in the scheme of things no biggy as was just an exibition race and most iportant our team was not involved inany crashes, look forward to getting out on the open rd and into the tour itself.
Off to bed before stage one start in the morning