|Podium girls go round the outside. Gerrans in pure bliss after winning a 3rd TDU - Photo Credit: No Idea.|
Yesterday, today, tomorrow? I have to admit that I have no idea what day, or what time of said unknown day it is in Australia. What I do know is that local boy (on a global scale at least) Simon Gerrans knows what day it is... it's the day he won his record third overall Tour Down Under stage race and then got smooched up on by two lovely Australian sheila's in front of a few thousand of his biggest fans. After having stood on the top step of the podium in 2006 and 2012 he was arguably the big favorite to win this years edition, and though he faced stiff competition all week, his consistency put him at the top in the end with a first, second, third, fourth and fifth place (not in that order) in the first five races. Only his 11th place in todays final stage saw him finish outside of the top five, but he was merely playing it safe and insuring that the slim one second lead he held over Cadel Evans remained intact.
It was another excellent performance in his home tour and a 9th Australian victory in 16 editions of the TDU, a race where the home grown riders take defending their turf seriously. Four of the top five spots this year were filled by Aussies (Evans in 2nd, Porte in 4th and young Nathan Haas in 5th joined Gerrans.) with only Italian Diego Ulissi crashing the party in third place. There was excellent racing all week long in the intense heat and one can only hope that the rest of the calendar can hold a candle to the way the 2014 Tour Down Under started things off.