Speed de­mon



FRENCH, Ger­man, Span­ish, Ital­ian, Ja­panese or just Eng­lish with a heavy ac­cent.

The con­ver­sa­tions in the park­lands crowd last night, for the end of the women’s 2018 Tour and the be­gin­ning of the men’s event, lit­er­ally gave voice to the Tour Down Un­der’s growth over 20 years – from an Aussie at­tempt to em­u­late great world cy­cling events over­seas to be­ing very much among them.

While The Ad­ver­tiser didn’t have a mul­ti­lin­gual re­porter avail­able to eaves­drop, we’re pretty cer­tain ev­ery­one was once again hav­ing a great time at Aus­tralia’s great­est cy­cling race and what is now one of its most sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional sport­ing events.

That was sup­ported by some words we could un­der­stand, even if they were from a for­eign land of sorts – Queens­land.

The Mc­Carthy clan was in from Mary­bor­ough and found a spot on the Wake­field Rd start/fin­ish line to cheer on 25-year-old Jay Mc­Carthy, the BORA– hans­grohe rider who was third in last year’s Tour and a ris­ing tal­ent on the Euro­pean cir­cuit.

Mc­Carthy mar­ried high school sweet­heart Kerri, 26, just three months ago and while she fol­lows him around the world, she es­pe­cially loves our Tour, which she has at­tended seven times.

“It’s huge for Aus­tralian cy­cling,” Mrs Mc­Carthy told The Ad­ver­tiser, adding that this city’s em­brace of the sport was some­thing of a mo­rale booster for recre­ational cy­clists as well as ath­letes.

She thinks the Tour en­cour­ages greater aware­ness of cy­clists on the roads and it’s clear she puts safety ahead of sport­ing tri­umph.

“There’s been so many tragedies and with my hus­band be­ing a cy­clist I just don’t want to see those things hap­pen to any­one,” she said.

The suc­cess of the Tour was a “push for­ward” for cy­cling in­Aus­tralia as a way of life. “More peo­ple now know cy­clists as friends or in their fam­ily group, so it be­comes more re­lat­able for them,” Mrs Mc­Carthy said.

For all its na­tional and in­ter­na­tional fame, the Tour re­mains a spe­cial event for South Aus­tralia, and South Aus­tralians. Yes­ter­day’s fes­tiv­i­ties kicked off with the Bupa Fam­ily Ride, which re­turned to the Peo­ple’s Clas­sic cir­cuit used by the pro rid­ers and let fam­i­lies have their day in the per­fect Ade­laide sum­mer sun.

Next came the Peo­ple’s Choice Undies Run, al­ways more of a mo­bile party than an ath­letic event and again fir­ing a pos­i­tive com­mu­nity mood as 1600 runners in skimpy out­fits cel­e­brated rais­ing more than $100,000 to “kick bowel can­cer’s butt”.

The crowd was al­ready swelling by the time the se­ri­ous cy­cling be­gan with the fi­nal stage of the Women’s Tour. Al­though the fans were scat­tered around the cir­cuit that par­tially fol­lows the roads made fa­mous by For­mula One and V8 Su­per­car rac­ing, you could tell they were there when a nasty crash was re­played on gi­ant video screens and a col­lec­tive groan could be heard through the eu­ca­lypts.

As that race ended and Amanda Spratt was de­clared 2018 women’s cham­pion, thou­sands more peo­ple were teem­ing east from the city to see the 20th men’s tour be­gin.


SPRINTER SUPREME: Peter Sa­gan cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the Tour Down Un­der Peo­ple’s Choice Clas­sic in Ade­laide’s East End last night.

POWER DOWN: The in­ter­na­tional pelo­ton surges through Ade­laide’s East End streets dur­ing the Peo­ple's Choice Clas­sic to be­gin the 2018 San­tos Tour Down Un­der.

Pic­ture: TOM HUNT­LEY

THRILLING: Lyla, 8, and her brother Kalan, 10, cheer on the rid­ers in the Peo­ple's Choice Clas­sic last night.

YOUNG GUNS: A begin­ner, above, and a fu­ture racer, top, in the Peo­ple's Choice ride.

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