6 observations from the TDU

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2017 Santos Tour Down Under Champion Richie Porte (BMC Racing). Photo credit: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo.

 

1. Richie Porte was in a class of his own when the road tilted upward. We never saw him at the Nationals this year and his revised summer program seems to have worked a treat. It’s only early days, but there’s a noticeably different swagger about the Tasmanian at the moment, and the signs are there the 31-year old may well have gone to a whole new level in 2017. Promising, very promising. The next challenge is to stay 100% healthy for July. Then avoid bad luck in France, something he’s sadly been a magnet for in recent years.

2. UniSA was a very different team. They won the overall team’s classification from Movistar, which is a significant achievement against the WorldTour pros. But while the invitational team was rock solid across the board, the way we saw things they were hardly spectacular, and the race was a little poorer for it. Specifically, there was noticeably less of the feisty – and hugely popular – tactics from past TDUs that saw the young upstarts in blue and white serve it right up to the pros day after day after day. The one break they did make was through veteran Cam Myer. No doubt plenty of people will say ‘who cares?’ and fair enough too, but we for one missed their relentless agitations and daily presence in breakaways.

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3. Peter Sagan is all class and his presence was a huge boon for race organisers. Despite coming second to Caleb Ewan three times in the past week, Adelaide was really little more than a good pre-season blowout for the Slovakian, as well as a massive PR opportunity. He may not have won a stage, but showed more than enough to remind us all that when he’s good and ready in season 2017 (most likely Flanders) he’s set to dominate once more.

4. Jack Bauer is a Cat 1 hard bastard. The flying kiwi from Quickstep single-handedly impersonated the entire UniSA squad from past years, winning most combative rider a stunning 3 stages in a row 💪. Loved it.

5. Paracombe perfection. The introduction of a second genuinely race-shaping stage early in the week was a breath of fresh air for an event that’s formula hasn’t changed much for a while. Two years ago the Paracombe finish cost Richie Porte the overall GC. This time he made it his own.

6. Caleb Ewan is pretty much unbeatable in January. The way he’s sprinting right now they really needed a motorbike to take him down.

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iiNet Sprint Champion Caleb Ewan. Photo credit: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo).
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