Thursday, November 17, 2005

The circus that was the Tour of Southland

So as a professional cyclist, when I turn up to a hard (UCI sanctioned) race, that I have extended my season for I expect a certain level of professionalism from the organisers and commisaires. This didn't happen at the recent Tour of Southland.

On stage 4, Karl Menzies was in the yellow jersey and broke a chain 5km into the stage. The field eventually sat up and waited for him, but despite the field waiting, the commisaires wouldn't let him motor pace back to the peleton.....Why not....Its such a waste and time. We lost the jersey that day to the strong Southland Times team.

2 days later Jeremy Vennell took back the yellow with a stunning time trial. Winning it by 1/2 a second from Greg Henderson. We rode hard in the afternoon stage and Jeremy rewarded our efforts by extending his 3sec lead to 36secs.

2 days left and strong head winds all day. We let a break off 3 up the road to steal the bonus sprints from Hendy. Only to be told 95km into the stage, that the stage would be stopped at the top of the climb(110km). With the break 7 mins up the road, we took 3.5mins out of them in 10km. I have no doubt that with 50km remaining we would have caught and passed the break, but the organisers decided that they would give them 2hours rest and start them with 20km to go.....Not only that they got to keep the same time gap, despite the fact they cut 30km out of the race.....So what to do.....We decided to give up the tour but make a statement, that this isn't good enough in a pro bike race, getting together with all the big teams and riding a 20km/h protest.

Man did we stir some sh!t. We coped flack from the media, organisers, police and other riders and teams. But they have to understand that this is what we do. Its our job and the working conditions were unfair. We lost out and lost big, it was a hard decision but IM glad that we did it. You can read about it on cyclingnews and make up your own decision, just read this today, seems like we have afew people on our side at least (, not Rob Young though, but that doesnt bother me too much, he still owes me money from last years Tour of Korea......Go MG/Bigpond......go get em! (this is not directed at any of the riders, they are all decent guys).

Any way....IM over that now. Just found out 2 days ago that ive been selected for the Manchester World Cup. Representing my country in the scratch and madison. That is exciting and ill be off to England at the beginning of December.

Signed my contract this morning to ride for Advantage Benefits/Bissell next year, much to the dismay of my beautiful girlfriend. For us it means another 3 months apart, but this year she is coming over for the entire 2nd half of the season and then we are going to do a big European trip to finish the year, so hopefully she can see the good side and has something to look forward to. Man I love her.

Oh well, ill keep in touch.

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