A kaleidoscope of lycra clad cyclists, media, entourage, sponsors, spectators and families lined the decorated streets of Willunga for the Jayco Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under (TDU) on Saturday 22.1.11.
This stage started in McLaren Vale, through to Willunga, along Aldinga Road to the Esplanade at Aldinga Beach and Port Willunga, and then across vineyards along Tatachilla and McMurtrie Roads. Stunning footage was beamed out to the world of this gorgeous countryside and our beaches. The race distance was 131 km and Skoda King of the Mountain was fought out on Willunga Hill with the stage winner was Francisco Ventoso from team Movistar.
As a guest of the City of Onkaparinga (thank you very much!) I had a great viewing position from the raised marquee on the corner of St Peters Terrace and High Street, opposite the big screen TV and just where the race double backs after going up Willunga Hill.
Entertainment on the main stage next to us included STAYG25 – Performing High School Musical, Michael Venner with his guitarist,Marion Grasby from Master Chef with a cooking demonstration, Myles Mayo & the Sons of Martha who I met just before they went on stage. Uni cyclists, mini stunt bike riders and Christoph the balloon clown kept people entertained on the route.
Regional food galore with a huge choice and some examples including Koroni olive and Alexandrina chevre tarts, coconut coated local garfish with lime aioli, and beef and burgundy pies. The Best Until Last was a selection of Alexandrina and Woodside cheese with Blueberry Patch berries, Taronga Orchard almonds and lavosh with McLaren Vale Beer and local wine.
The media commentary box was up on scaffolding to the left of the marquee with another camera man right in front of us to capture the race as it powered down the main street. I met some great local and intraregional (from Adelaide) people and learnt a little bit of the TDU lingo but I really need a translation guide and yes definitely want to participate next year!