Finally the pro-cycling season is upon us. After an enduring and very chilly winter of Northern Hemisphere, cycling makes it’s return in 2012 with Santos Tour Down Under. The race which started in 1999 holds an important place in the World Tour calendar, elite cycling blogger Cyclingtips has already emphasized the importance of the race for the spring classics. The week long event also helps the riders to get some good miles in the warm weather of Adelaide. I have special memories of following TDU. I started following pro-cycling in full-blown mode in 2011 and this race was my first of the calendar. As I was a noob at that time, my stream-hunting skills were not really impressive and I ended up following the whole race via audio commentary. It was like the good old days when people used to follow football, cricket and in fact cycling races on radio. I would yearn for Phil Liggett to chip in his mundane observations between the excellent running Aussie commentary. It was a surreal experience which endeared professional road racing to my romantic self.
This year I will miss the race altogether due to my work commitments but hope to find the daily highlights at the end of the day. TDU12 will be special to the Australian public because of GreendEdge’s participation. I hope Matty Goss can get the Aussie team their first World Tour points. With every team boasting an ace sprinter in their rank, each stage will be hard fought. The sight of Greipel, Pettachi, Renshaw, Goss battling out at the finish line will be intimidating. One person who will be hell bent on proving his sprint credentials is Mark Renshaw. In his new role at Rabobank, the previous star leadout man will be trying to show to the Australian public and his team that he could finish the job as well. There’s no doubt about Mark’s ability and it’s just a matter of time before he will start producing results but I reckon that TDU will not be the place. I’m putting down my money on Edwald Boassen Hagen to win the golden jersey and my outside bet is Matthew Harley Goss. TDU marks the beginning of a new season and let’s hope that it’s even better than the last.