Monday, January 21, 2008 5:31 PM

TDU: Down Under Classic.

This week in the Tour Down Under I am riding for the Uni SA/ Australian National Team. In our team we have, Allan Davis, Matt Wilson, Luke Roberts, Wes Sulzberger, Carl Menzies, Richie Porte and myself. I will be giving you daily reports from the tour this week to give you an inside into what goes on in a Pro Tour event.

Sunday 20th was the first part of the Down Under event, opening with a prologue criterium in the Adelaide seaside town of Glenelg . There was a massive crowd that turned out for the first ever Pro Tour race outside of Europe and the riders didn’t disappoint. To begin with there was a complete introduction of all the Pro Tour team and us, (Uni SA/ ), the only non-pro tour team in the event. Once 7pm approached the riders were well and truly lined up a rearing to go. Once we had paid tribute to a very well sung National Anthem the race got under way.

To begin with the race was very fast and erratic. With all the riders having their first race of the year and wanting to have a successful start to the season. There were many attacks in the first 10 laps all of which were well represented by our Uni SA/ Aus team, but none being successful for more than a lap or two. With about 15laps to go Rabobank to control of the front of the race to ensure that no more attacks were successful, and with the intention of setting the finish up for their fast man Graeme Brown. Once the race to this turn it was obvious that is was going to be a bunch sprint finish, so we then focused on looking after our sprinter Allan Davis. Between the six of us plus Allan, we tried to move him to the front and place him in the right position with out consuming too much energy. With three laps to go we had four of us right up the front including Allan and looking good. With half a lap to go the pace was full on and to move up posed a big challenge but we managed to place Allan in forth wheel coming into the last corner. The sprint was won by Team High Roads sprinter Andre Gripel, and with a slightly hindered sprint Allan managed 4th place. A good start to his season and commendable result for our team, which has never ridden together before. Hopefully this is a good sign for a successful week.

Tomoro (Monday) we have a rest day before the first stage of the Tour starting on Tuesday, 129km from Mawson Lakes to Angston.

See you again after the first stage.