Hot wheels as TDU rolls into town
PROFESSIONAL riders and tens of thousands of fans will brave scorching conditions for the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under today.
The peloton will set off from North Adelaide, for the first time in the race’s 21-year history, at 11am.
The forecast of extreme heat and strong winds has prompted race organisers to shorten today’s stage, shaving off the planned 3.4km loop around Port Adelaide.
The stage will now be 129km, with riders expected to finish in Port Adelaide around 2.24pm.
“The reason for this decision is the collective opinion of all representatives taking into consideration that the extreme weather conditions may result in a major peloton breakup which would be problematic on the finishing circuit,” race director Mike Turtur said yesterday.
The decision to shorten today’s stage follows 26.9km being cut from tomorrow’s second stage from Norwood to Angaston.
Climbing specialist Richie Porte, who is perfectly suited to the Tour’s new finale on
Willunga Hill, has been widely tipped as the man to beat, along with Canadian Mike Woods. World time trial champion Rohan Dennis and a swag of young guns including Alex Edmondson are among the leading South Australian hopes, while Mitchelton-Scott rider Daryl Impey, of South Africa, is out to defend his crown.
“Being the defending champion doesn’t change much for me,” Impey said. “With more climbing this year, a tougher route and better climbers, it’ll be a little bit different and a harder race. It could be challenging but I’m prepared for it.”
With riders expected to face gruelling conditions for at least the first three stages, keeping them fed will literally take truckloads of pasta.
Lee Spackman, sous chef at The Hilton hotel, said a base menu meant everyone was on an even playing field but individual
team dietitians could vary food.
“There is an abundance of carbohydrates of course, lowfat meals and controlled seasoning,” Mr Spackman said.
“Pasta is one of their favourites. There is a pasta for every service except breakfast.”
As official sponsor, San Remo delivered 850kg of dry pasta to The Hilton yesterday.
Cycling heroine and San Remo ambassador Anna Meares still enjoys her pasta, even in retirement, saying: “It is still a great source (of fuel) and I fill it with salads and vegetables.”
For protein, riders have lowfat meat and chicken, and seafood is growing in popularity.
“We are doing barramundi and salmon, which has got the healthy fats through it as well,” Mr Spackman said.
As the whole menu is designed for hot weather riding, extreme heat doesn’t change the meals, only the timing.