Round Four of the Australian National Road Series (NRS) took me to South Australia and the three day long Tour of Adelaide. Having never been to the city before, I was fortunate enough to arrive several days prior to the race. A long training on Wednesday gaveme a taste for the amazing training roads that exist in the hills above the city while time off in the afternoon gave me an opportunity drink some great coffee at multiple kick ass local cafes such as Nanos and Argo. A sister city of Christchurch, Adelaide definitely reminds me of my hometown prior to the earthquake. The CBD certainly has a cool vibe to it and it’s no wonder Adelaide is considered one of the most livable cities in Australia.
The tour kicked off with a 20km Team Time Trial from Cudlee Creek to Newton. The tight and twisty downhill course was more about skill than strength and despite having a solid ride, our team Budget Forklifts was beaten by Euride Racing, a well rehearsed local team. The deficit was 16 seconds, with a further 25 seconds back to third place, the Huon-Genesys Team. Looking past the disappointment of not winning the stage, finishing with our full complement of eight riders meant our team was in a strong position going into the long and challenging next stage.
Woodside and the Bird in Hand vineyard was the venue for Stage Two of the tour. Comprising of three laps of a tough 53km figure eight circuit, the stage was 160km in total, making it the longest NRS tour stage of the year so far. While there were no major climbs on the course, several short butsteep hills combined with a dirt road section in the final kilometres made for a tough day out.
With all eight Budget Forklift riders being equally close and capable of pulling on the yellow jersey going into the stage, combined with the genuine selflessness that exists in our team, we went into the stage without a designated team leader. Our plan was to race aggressively and leave it allout on the road with the hope of launching a Budget Forklifts rider, any one of our riders, into the lead. With that in mind, I think our team rode incredibly. Every single one of our riders featured up the road in various moves throughout the day and there wasn’t a moment of the race when we weren’t applying pressure.
The winning move finally formed in the final ten kilometres of racing and with three Budget Forklift riders initially there it was a great move for our team. In the end it was our team captain Blair Windsor who had too much speed for his two companions at the line and took a classy victory, hisfirst NRS win after five years with the team. Unfortunately the peloton was close behind and the yellow jersey remained with the local team with the general classification margin tightening by five seconds. Unfortunately one of our riders, Shaun was taken out in a nasty crash in the final kilometres and despite finishing, he was off to hospital that evening with a nasty gash on his knee and unable to continue the tour.
Full credit to the Euride Racing team, who rode very admirably throughout the stage and controlled the peloton well. Our team tactics were unfortunately dampened by the negative racing of some other teams. The Huon-Genesys boys were seemingly more concerned with defending their overall NRS series lead than racing this Tour and refused to contribute to the most dangerous moves of the day. Meanwhile the minor teams were understandably reluctant to work while the strongest team in the series sat on the back. Despite the best efforts from our team, no break was really going anywhere.
The final stage was a 82km Kermesse in Adelaide, comprised of 22 laps of a 3.7km circuit. An uphill drag to the finish and a fair bit of road furniture on the course, were the major features of the day but it was otherwise a flat and fast loop. Opening any advantage over the field on such a course was always going to be a tough ask but Budget Forklifts tried hard and our entire time were active throughout the race without any luck. Meanwhile, our team fast man, Jesse was on fire and comfortably won all of the intermediate sprints, enough to pull on the green sprinters jersey at the end of the day. He was also right up in the action at the finish but another rider put his pedal through Jesse’s front wheel, removing half of his spokes and leaving Jesse at a standstill within sight of the line.
At the end of the day, it was disappointing not to be able to win the tour, but it was not through lack of trying. We ended up holding 4th-8th on the general classification, to go with Jesse’s Sprint Ace jersey, Blair’s stage win and our 2nd in the opening TTT. It was a solid team performance. Hopefully we can carry momentum into the next NRS round which is the North West Tour.
I live in radelaide and agree with the view of the training rides. Awesome roads with f all cars, generally good drivers and lots to see. I'm spending a bit of time in Melbourne at the moment and wouldn't trade Adelaide riding for quids. I noticed the road closures for the ride but didn't get out for a look