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.

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