A Day With Bob Addy

On Stage 2 of the Tour of Margaret River, I went over to the event owner, Brendon, and asked what car I was getting in to follow the race. I was going to be in the lead vehicle, 300 meters up the road, so I was pretty happy because it would get me to the finish in time. That was all I focused on, just getting to the finish to catch the winner’s name and take photos. I was introduced to Bob and Bryan, and we went on our merry way.

We started it off with a bit of small talk: “Where do you live?” – Perth, “You down for the weekend?” – Just for Saturday, “Drove down early then this morning?” – We were up at 4am to get down here. Then, Bryan chirped up: “Do you know who you are sitting next to?” I had no clue, being a fresh-faced youngster to the cycling scene, I didn’t really know many people, especially older ones. “You are sitting next to Bob Addy – former British champion.”

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Holdsworth Campagnolo Team Photo, 1970. Bob Addy, who was road captain, is on the far left.

Bob Addy was a British professional rider, riding from 1965-1973 professionally. He represented Britain at the Commonwealth Games, Olympics, and World Championships. He rode the Tour de France during the Merckx era. As an amateur, he won the British Championships. He won stages in the Tour of Britain – or the Milk Race as it was called back then, and various other British tours. He rode all over Europe – at the Tour l’Avenir, and the old Amstel Gold to name a couple of races. During his riding career spanning over 5 decades, he won multiple veteran titles in Australia, and rode track pursuits and madisons.

So, now I know that Bob has got a bit of experience. “And did you see the picture on the ride of the car? That was Bob racing against Eddy [Merckx].” Okay, this guy has got some serious experience. Not only is he a previous champion, but he has ridden with Merckx.

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That was the photo on the side of Bob’s car. He is right on Merckx’s tail.

“Riding alongside Eddy was tough. In that era, he was just so much better than himself, and in the Tour de France, racing was tough.” Over the 1968 Tour, the only Tour de France Addy rode, he was struck by 2 major mechanicals, on top of illness. By stage 10 of the Tour, after back to back days in the Pyrennes, he abandoned. We drove up the final climb on Stage 2, Kindalee Hill. On the road, someone wrote in chalk ‘MOUNTAIN’. “Driving through these hills in Australia reminds me of the Pyrennes. Although when people think these are mountains, it makes me laugh. It’s like this in Europe, except over 25km and not 1km.”

He had many fond memories of his time riding professionally in Europe, especially with Holdsworth Campagnolo. “Back then, pro teams didn’t get invites to a lot of major races. We used to ride for clubs or nations, but never international teams. It was different, riding with people from your home rather than all these teams with riders of all nationalities.” Being good at cycling at those days got you a wage well below average pay – the average for a cyclist was £8 a week in 1968 in the UK. This kept on increasing, as the sport became a lot more focused on the professional racing rather than riding for country.

The 1962 Commonwealth Games was a 200 kilometer circuit around Perth’s iconic Kings Park, just outside the city and around 5km down the road from the track and field circuit in Claremont. “We flew over from the UK to Perth for the Commonwealth Games. You come halfway across the world [which took 3 days by plane] to race for 120 miles. You really wanted to do the race, no matter the circumstances.” On the way over from Britain, Addy contracted a stomach bug.  “It wasn’t the most pleasant time, but I just wanted to ride the road race.”

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The road race around Kings Park would have been quite stunning in those days. Even nowadays it’s a very pretty ride, popular among weekend warriors who want a touch of bush on their rides. Pictured is the peloton near the start of the race.

On the day of the race, he had serious stomach pains, and diarrhea. “I was on the start line and I wasn’t feeling great. I just wanted to get through the day.” Addy managed to get through a couple of laps before it really started. “It was on around Lap 3 (around 25km into the race) where I started having troubles. I dismounted a few times to go to the toilet along the race, but every time I did it I kept falling further and further behind.” Determined to not let his training and travel go to waste, he kept getting back on and getting up back into the peloton. “You don’t travel across the world to abandon the race.” However, late into the race, it had gotten too much. “I was quite dehydrated in the heat and with the diarrhea that I had to abandon. It was disappointing, but I loved the trip.”

Coming home, Addy decided to trade his plane ticket for a boat ticket. “I saved £100 (around £2000 in today’s money) by going by boat. It gave me a bit of pocket money for the trip, which got used on the ship. I came back to Europe a bit overweight, so I had to work hard to get to race weight. But, I enjoyed my time on the ship in the sun, so no complaints.” He returned to Britain, and won a stage of the Milk Tour (Tour of Britain) in the same year, and took out the Amateur National Championships the year after. Maybe the Australia sun had something to do with it.

By the time we reached this point of the conversation, I had to jump out to get to the finish. After the day was done, Bryan came up to me and said: “You have a bright future, but you don’t ask many questions for a journalist.” I laughed, it was true, I didn’t ask Bob any questions, but I was mesmerized by his story. I just enjoyed hearing his stories of riding alongside Eddy Merckx and travelling around the world as a racer in the 60s. It was something I won’t forget.

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Bob Addy put up the cleats in 2014, after winning the Australian Masters Championships. He now spends his time coaching young riders and following cycling races around Perth. It was great to be given the opportunity to chat with him, and while maybe I should have asked more questions, I don’t regret just sitting in silence listening to his story. Apparently he is writing a biography, which is on the way, so keep an eye out for that.

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Photos of the Peloton: TOMR Stages 3 + 4

It was 10pm when I got home yesterday so I didn’t have the time to upload it on the day, but it’s done now. What a whirlwind trip, and it’s not something I’ll forget. Here are my favourite photos from Sunday’s Stage 3 and 4 of the Tour!

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The cow went around the start line at Stage 3. The girl rode the sportives earlier in the week, stayed, took some photos, and got some autographs. I saw her talk to Anouska a lot – Anouska was amazingly sociable with everyone.

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I also managed to grab a quick snap myself with the WM3 team. Absolutely loved my time with them this week, and I hope to catch up with them at the TDU.

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Shannon Malseed got prime real estate on the cow – on the bum. Stole the spot from Erin (although she did apparently put an asterisk under the tail!)

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Holden Team Photo. I have no idea what Kimberly found hilarious – maybe the height difference between Lisen and Emma?

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Grace and Erin on a cheat day. Maybe it helped, considering Grace ended up winning Stage 3 and the Individual Classification of the race.

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Annemiek rallying the troops just before the start. Everyone loved her, and with her being on the SPR team, she got around with a lot of people. Where there was Annemiek, there were 5 people on her tail.

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Stage 3 finished on top of the Mur du Hay. Looking at the profile, I didn’t think it would be awfully tough. However, once hiking my way to the top, I saw how tough it was. Michael Freiberg made it look easy though.

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Marianne Vos rounding the last corner of the Mur du Hay. She even kicked up a little sprint up the final kicker!

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And the only thing some people were kicking up the Mur Du hay was their bike. This unlucky rider punctured on the climb, and had the long walk up to finish the stage. He got back on for the time trial, though.

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The D Grade Drag Race to determine the winner of the stage. Jayden Waters of Cyclemania (middle) ended up winning the stage.

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Robbie struggled on the climbs, something you expect from a sprinter!

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Anouska Koster and Luke Durbridge finished together up the Mur du Hay. Not often do you get to see the Women’s and Men’s peloton together, let alone 2 pro’s going at it. Anouska won the race to the top.

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Grace Brown really found form on the stage, smashing the Mur du hay and taking the win. Someone even wrote Holden on the road!

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Jeanne Korevaar soaking in the Australian sun on her spin up the hill. They all make it look so easy.

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Erin, last time I checked, you were racing! Apparently Crikey Cadel is the #HoldenWomensRacingCroc. Sorry, BMC.

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The Stage 4 Team Time Trial was a windy 42km down Balingup-Nannup Road. I hit in the bushes to get a few photos of the start, before having to bolt for the finish.

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Marianne Vos is so photogenic on the bike. Absolutely amazing form and technique, and that European Champ jersey photographs well!

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Brooksy found a dugite on the stage as well. 2 meters long. Gotta be safe from the wildlife out here!

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At the finish of the TTT, everyone cheered for these 2 Northern Beaches riders. Last on every stage, they still made it over the line, hand in hand. Astonishing effort over the 3 days in the brutal heat and the undulating terrain.

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Erin hoisting the Champions trophy after Holden won the women’s edition of the race. If my pictures of Erin this week haven’t told you enough about her, what can I say? She is a funny, kind person, who loves a bit of banter and a joke. I don’t think I got a serious photo of Erin all week, but those characters make cycling. Serious on the inside, funny on the outside.

I had an absolute ball at the Tour of Margaret River this year. It’s a shame it went so fast and now I’m back into normality (and exams). However, 12 months will fly by, and I’ll be down there once again. I hope you all enjoyed my coverage of the race. The Tour really re-invigorated my love for cycling, because races like these remind you of how beautiful the sport of cycling is. You never get to be this intimate with professionals in any other sport, and that’s the glory of it. Until next time, I’m out.

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!

 

 

Photos of the Peloton: TOMR Stage 2

Today’s stage out of Nannup to Greenbushes was quite difficult, according to a lot of the riders. An early break of 6, including Linfield, broke away just after the first climb up the Brockman Highway, and quickly distanced the bunch. Linfield was one of the first riders onto the move, and was joined by his compatriots. A couple of riders fell off the back in the descent into Maranup just before the penultimate Kindalee Hill.

As the riders were rounding the final couple of kilometers up into Greenbushes, Linfield made his move. Coming into the final corner with 200m to go, there was daylight between him and the chasing 4, and Linfield had enough time to salute the Greenbushes crowd before taking his team’s first win of the week. “The boys have only been together for 2 weeks before this race, so any result is a good result,” Linfield said at the finish.

In the women’s event, it was once again Holden dominating the rest of the field. Kimberly Wells led the attacks for the Australian outfit, starting 8km into the stage. After being caught 4km later, Lisen Hockings launched herself to a strong lead. With South Perth Rouleurs leading a strong chase, Emma Pooley capitalised on the increased momentum in the bunch and launched herself, bridging to Hockings.

On the final climb into Greenbushes, Grace Brown took off. Teammate Shannon Malseed followed shortly after, launching from the top of the climb with 500m to go. Emma Pooley got the win on the line, while Hockings finished with Pooley for 2nd, Brown 3rd 40 seconds behind and Malseed 4th about a minute back. “It was pretty hot out there today, and the final climb was brutal,” said Pooley, “but I’m just relieved that the day is done.”

Now that the stage recap is done for the day, here are my favourite photos from today!

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Luke Durbridge was giving an interview to Cycliq before the stage today. Talked about his ambitions in 2018 (classics season), road safety, and Caleb Ewan.

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Sabrina Stultiens also gave an interview to Cycliq, talking about the wildlife and the Australian roads.

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Annemiek van Vleuten before today’s start. She had a good yarn with Jess Allen before getting ready for the stage.

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Jess Allen just before rolling out today. An amazing person to talk to, and will always lend an ear to hear anything. Super humble about her own achievements, and loves talking up others (thanks for the thanks about CyclingTips today!).

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Michael Freiberg before the start. Today, the who’s-who of the race got their early and rolled around for a bit before the stage, and chatted between each other.

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Lisen Hockings, looking up at the right time. I stood there for a few minutes waiting for this shot. Absolutely in love with her jersey.

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The King Kom Boys getting ready – as requested by Anjii Coleman!

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The best sign on the route today. Crikey Cadel the Crocodile was up the road a bit further, 5km out from the finish in Greenbushes at the top of Kirralee Hill.

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RIP Crikey Cadel.

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Matt Keenan commentating the stage finish in his lycra from his morning Breakaway ride. We had a good yarn about his early career, uni life and cycling journalism. So knowledgeable, and a great inspiration for me and anyone else in the field.

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Bradley Linfield took out the stage today. His name might sound familiar – he tore up the Junior Circuit back in 2011, beating riders such as Pierre Latour, Matej Mohoric, Magnus Cort and Alexey Vermuelen. He was supposed to be the next big thing before illness struck. He’s getting back on form now, and dominated today’s stage.

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More Matt Keenan on the mic. He knows how to get the crowd going too.

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Midland Alpha and Veris Development sprinting it out on the line for 6th place. Midland got up, and Tim Harvey claimed the Young Riders Jersey.

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Pauliena Rooijakkers finishing up in Greenbushes.

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Calling out Bernie Swart for the best celebration of the day – even though he didn’t win anything!

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Some riders were just cruising over the line…

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…and others, like good Marco here, watched the pain from the sidelines after finishing earlier.

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A painful grimace from some of the riders truly told how harsh the weather and the final climb was.

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Emma Pooley won the Women’s race. Holden went 1-2-3-4. Domination.

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My favourite photo of the day. One of Jess Allen’s Joondalup Cycle City team mates sprinting for the line, as Jess peels off her lead out. True teamwork.

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Annemiek celebrating one of her team mates sprinting to the line, after dropping off the pace. She helped her up the climbs, and let her take center stage as she sprinted to the line, cheering for her and getting the crowd into a whirl.

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And, as Anouska Koster demonstrates here, refueling your body after a race is very important. I think she enjoyed that banana a lot.

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And once the race was over, and the presentations done, some of the riders were itching to get back on the bikes and ride home. The pro’s congregated outside and led the people out, taking various routes back to Nannup.

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Luke Durbridge, Rotem Gafinotivz, Jess Allen, Anouska Koster and Marianne Vos led this ride back, while some teams like Holden almost time trialled back home.

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It was a great day out at Greenbushes. It’s great at these events to see the community being able to interact with the pro’s so intimately. It’s what cycling is about. And then once the day was done, everyone packed up and moved on, eager for tomorrow.

If you want to see more photos and content from this week, be sure to check out the Tour of Margaret River FacebookInstagram, and of course my twitter. Tomorrow is the last day of racing, can’t wait to see who comes out on top!

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!

Photos of the Peloton: TOMR Stage 1

Today’s Stage 1 at the Tour of Margaret River was a great spectacle. With a small group ride beforehand, and then the racing started. While my day started with me locking myself out of my room at 6am, it ended with more amazing experiences. Here are my favourite 22 photos from today’s stage.

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Anouska is one of the best ‘fan-interacters’ that I’ve seen in any sport. She is always chatting to people – young or old – and just loves sharing experiences. She took autographs and photos just after the VosMax ride finished today.

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Another group of people who are great in front of the camera are the Holden Women’s Team. With a bit of Aussie banter behind them, they never fail to see the funny side in things. And the war is ongoing, much to Lisen’s shock when she rocked up today.

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Marianne Vos is riding with the EY-1 team (Luke Durbridge is riding with EY-2), and they stopped for a group photo before setting out on their TT. They finished 6 minutes behind the eventual winners, Veris Men’s Development Team.

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Seriously photogenic. How does she do it?

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Matt Keenan and Robbie McEwen were on the commentary today. This smile from Matt today just goes to show how amazing these guys really are. There was lots of banter from the commentary box today…

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…and they were joined by the marvelous Stuart O’Grady as well. Absolutely fantastic characters today, and provided a lot of entertainment to the 700+ riders and their families.

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Sabrina Stultiens and Pauliena Rooijakkers hanging out with Jethro from the Midland Bravo Team. I said I would get this photo for you, Jethro.

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Le Tour has Didi. We have Crikey Cadel.

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One more to the bunny ear tally for Erin, however you can just see Shannon getting one in there. The war is truly on.

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Annemiek hanging out with the South Perth Rouleurs before her start. She was giving them tips – and posing to the camera.

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SPR Womens 3 Group Photo with their star rider Annemiek van Vleuten. Apparently it was a tough day on the road for them, but Annemiek made it an unforgettable experience.

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And she was enjoying it herself, as well!

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Riejanne Markus hanging out with her Northern Beaches Cycling Club Team just before they rolled out. She is full of charisma and got along really well with her team – the team was really nervous beforehand from what I heard as well!

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Jess Allen. Finger Guns. Great fun with the Joondalup Cycle City Girls.

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Grace Brown through the fencing just after the depart. They were the last team to depart.

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The Pedal Mafia Squad on the road about 7km out from the finish. Lots of sore bodies at this stage in the 33C heat, and the team was down to 4 men at this stage.

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Small celebration from the Dome Coffees Racing rider coming through the same point. They eventually finished 3rd, 31 seconds behind Veris.

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Monique Van De Ree, riding for the TOMR Directors Team, giving us a small wave. She looks like a butterfly in this photo!

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Even the pros need a push sometimes. Gotta give it to Holden, they absolutely smashed it today.

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Monique was as focused as ever on the ride today, helping out her team.

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Holden about 4km out from the finish, just before the last final climb. They found a good tempo and stuck to it, according to Erin Kinnealy.

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…and they brought it home with the win. 7 minutes ahead of any other team in the Women’s Category, and 11th in Open. However, if you were to ask Erin, she would say that they could have snuck a top 10 if they didn’t get held up in traffic back in town!

I interviewed Erin Kinnealy (Holden) after the race, just to hear what she thought of today’s stage:

CR: First of all, enjoying the rides?

EK: Loving them! The country town feel in Nannup is such a nice change of pace. Also, everyone out here is lovely.

CR: How about the weather?

EK: It’s a bit of the shock to the system. Most of the team have come from Victoria where it’s been cold. We were throwing ice down our back at the start line, but it just kept on melting. At the finish line, I had a look at my Garmin and it had a tarmac temperature reading of 42.8C – it was bloody hot today!

CR: A lot of teams blew up in the heat today, especially on those final 10km of undulations back down Mowen Road. How did you guys keep it together?

EK: We used quick rotations along the downhills to build some momentum and to keep the speed up (Note: They were hitting up to 87kmh on some of the downhills, I was in the following car). Once the climb starts, we keep the speed of the rotations up until we run out of momentum.

From there, we click into each other’s rhythm. It took us about 30km to get used to each other (Emma Pooley doesn’t usually ride with Holden), but once we found it, it was business as usual.

Once we passed the 1km sign, it was a wave of relief, and a bit of an oh-my-gosh moment before we really had to hammer it home and let the shackles go.

CR: You won your division by over 7 minutes. Could you have gone faster?

EK: We could have snuck into the top 10 if we didn’t get held up by a few cars down the main street of Nannup!


If you want to see more photos and content from this week, be sure to check out the Tour of Margaret River FacebookInstagram, and of course my twitter, which is being used as the official race twitter. A great first day of racing – luckily incident-free! My report will be up on CyclingTips tomorrow. Cycliq has also provided us with some amazing on-the-bike footage, which we will be sharing on the social media streams. Until tomorrow, see ya!

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!

Photos of the Peloton: TOMR VosMax in Kirup

I have been fortunate enough to take some amazing photos while down at the Tour of Margaret River. Here is a small collection from today’s VosMax Sportive Ride, which was a 60km loop around the town of Kirup, stopping in Donnybrook along the way. It was a very good day, compared to the struggling heat of the 115km ride yesterday out to Manjimup and back. More pros came along for today’s ride as they were trickling in, including Jessica Allen, Robbie McEwen and Matt Keenan.

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Matt Keenan getting ready for the ride. I walked into the coffee shop (Lady Marmalade, highly recommended) to grab a brew for me and our video guy, Marco, and Robbie and Matt were sitting in fresh from their flights. I was trying so hard to not freak out – Matt is my absolute idol. It was great to meet them both finally. Thanks for sitting with me today and having a good chat, I hope we can talk more in the future!

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Robbie McEwen having a chat with Jessica Allen just before the start. About Robbie, he is such an amazing guy with an uncanny ability to read the pack and lead the ride like he did today.

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Riejanne Markus of WM3, sitting on the playground at Donnybrook. We stopped by the Big Apple Playground to top up bottles and have a yarn. Some of the guys even got onto the playground (photos later!)

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Anouska Koster of WM3 Cycling (if you haven’t seen my interview with her, it’s here!) smiling on the roadside just outside Donnybrook where the group bunched up before hitting the highway. Such a bubbly character, and quite talkative!

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Monique Van De Ree of Lares-Waowdeals (moving to WM3 in 2018) just outside of Donnybrook. I rode beside her for a bit of the first VosMax ride before my derailleur decided to have a break. Taught everyone how to play Skip-Bo, including me!

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Erin Kinnealy of Holden Racing Team. What a character – she would be reincarnated as a comedian she is that funny. You will never catch her without her GoPro, and always makes everything a fun and enjoyable experience (she would make the desert seem like paradise).

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Shannon “Dash” Malseed getting one back on Erin after she got bunny-ear’d on the group photo yesterday. Apparently there is now a war in the Holden Camp.

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Emma Pooley enjoying her time on these monkey bar things at the Donnybrook Playground. When I tried to do it, my feet touched the ground.

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Sabrina Stultiens of Sunweb (going to WM3 in 2018) taking a selfie with another rider. She then later helped push a rider up a hill with Pauliena Rooijakkers, showing what cycling is truly about.

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Marianne Vos of WM3 – 11 time World Champion and current European Champion. While everyone else was playing Skip-Bo, she was reading the race guide. A head full of knowledge, but also a kind spirit who is great to have a chat with.

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Rotem Gafinovitz of WM3 by the roadside. A quiet character, but as with everyone down here this week, absolutely amazing to talk to.

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Marianne showing off her CX skills at the playground. Truly talented rider.

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People were having too much fun in that playground. Looking at you, Erin.

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Jeanne Korevaar of WM3 before the start today. Everyone was very social before the ride today, the way it should be for a sportive.

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Erin and her camera. Find me a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

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Pauliena Rooijakkers of Parkhotel-Valkenburg (moving to WM3 in 2018) getting out of the saddle on the hilly roll into Donnybrook. This was quite a sharp pinch.

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The back of the bunch just cresting the pinch.

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I said that Sabrina and Pauliena helped push someone up the final climb. Jen was struggling up the climb, but with a couple of helping hands and a bit of drafting, they all made it home safely. Great to see everyone working together and everyone being so supportive.

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Marianne Vos post-ride at Greenbushes Primary. There are 22 students in total at this school, and the whole WM3 team visited to chat with the kids about what it’s like being a pro cyclist. It was a really great experience for everyone, and something I hope those kids (and the team) never forget.

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Monique and Sabrina also at the primary school.

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Rotem showing off the bike to the kids. She took it for a spin and almost crashed in the drain pipe while trying a full sprint. No harm done.

If you want to see more photos and content from this week, be sure to check out the Tour of Margaret River Facebook, Instagram, and of course my twitter. It’s been a great week so far, and the racing starts tomorrow, so keep an eye out here for race reports and other content! There will be on board footage as well, courtesy of Cycliq!

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!

Tour of Margaret River: The small town race pulling big name riders

Nestled away 3 hours South of Perth, the little town of Nannup doesn’t scream cycling. With a population of just over 500, usually the only noise you hear around is wildlife amongst the huge Marri trees. But for one week in November, you’ll be hearing a lot of gear changes and chains spinning. 150 teams descend on the town and surrounding regions to tackle Australia’s fastest growing cycling race – the Tour of Margaret River. These aren’t just 150 teams of amateur club riders either: a truckload of international pro’s ride the race, as well as the best NRS teams in Australia.

First, a history lesson…

The Tour of Margaret River is a one of a kind race. It’s a stage race which focuses on the team, and – unlike Hammer Series – doesn’t rely on doing loops of the same circuit with points on each lap. You also get to see – or ride with – the best of the World Tour, in a small country town. I don’t think you can get more Australian with camaraderie in a rural town. It’s still only a baby race too, being held every November since 2009. Back then, there were 30 riders – all amateur. I think this South Perth Rouleurs review of the 2010 edition gives you a bit of scale on how fast the race has grown. Riders went down for the weekend to race against other local clubs, with re-hydration at the pub a must.

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It wouldn’t be a Perth cycling race without South Perth Rouleurs. Source: SPR.

The race has steadily grown in size – by 2013 there were around 350 riders in the race. That year’s edition was taken out by Theo Yates – who now rides for Drapac Pat’s Veg and took out a stage of the Tour of Thailand this year. Taking a look at 2015’s edition – covered nicely in this article by Cyclist Magazine – it saw riders like Chris Hamilton, Ben O’Connor and Jai Hindley battle for the Green GC Jersey. Hamilton (Sunweb) and O’Connor (Dimension Data) are now riding for WT teams – and O’Connor recently won a stage at the Tour of Austria. Hindley is also tearing up the U23 Circuit with the World Tour Academy team, coming 3rd at the Baby Giro – as well as beating Chris Froome at the Herald Sun Tour earlier this year. Not to mention Luke Durbridge (Orica) and Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) – both World Tour pros – rode the race.

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Perth local Jack Bobridge has been a staple at the event in year’s past. Source: Augusta-Margaret River Mail.

The start list in 2016 went from great to spectacular for only a ProAm race. Marianne Vos rode the Tour, and brought team mate Moniek Tenniglo along for the ride. Tenniglo won the Women’s A Grade race, while Luke Durbridge rode once again. 2017 now sees the best start list ever. The race organizers are pushing to bring big names and draw the attention of the UCI to make the race a Women’s World Tour event. It seems like every week a new amazing rider signs on.

Vos ToMR

Marianne Vos is one of many WT level riders to ride the TOMR in 2017. Source: Ride Australia.

Marianne Vos isn’t just bringing a team mate – she’s bringing a fair chunk of the WM3 Energie squad. Polish Champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma is riding, Tenniglo returns to defend her title, and Anousta Koster rounds out the WM3 Squad for the race. They are also doing a training camp around the region before and after the race, so keep an eye out for their kits on the road.

Luke Durbridge is also bringing some of his Orica friends – with Damien Howson and Mitch Docker signing on for the 2017 race. He also lured two riders from the women’s team: Dutch National Time Trial Champion and 5-time Giro stage winner Annemiek Van Vleuten plus ex-Junior World Time Trial Champion, and my personal favourite rider, Jess Allen. The Meyer Brothers return after they tore up the Ring Crits in Perth in January this year, and Cameron taking a win in Belgium a few weeks ago in the Dwars door de Vlaamse Ardennen.

Tiffany Cromwell, Emma Pooley, and many others are riding that I wouldn’t be able to list everyone’s achievements in this post. On top of those world-class riders, because it’s now an NRS event in 2017, the Tour of Margaret River will attract the likes of Isowhey, Satalyst Verve, Drapac Pat’s Veg, Veris, NSWIS and Mobius as they fight for NRS points.

2017’s route tackles the punchy climbs of the South West…

Stage 1 opens up the Tour with a 42km Team Time Trial down Mowen Road. The riders head up and down the undulating track, turning around at Jalbarragup Road. The climbs at St John Road and back into Nannup will be crucian in setting apart the teams and classifying teams in their respective divisions.

Stage 2 is a short 50km stage from Nannup to Greenhills, with a punchy uphill finish along Marinup Ford Road (which, on Strava, has been taken over by pro’s from years gone past). They follow the Brockman Highway, passing over the steep Ellis Creek Road climb, and turn onto Marinup Ford for the final stretch.

Stage 3 is the hardest stage of the Tour. The 71km stage out of Nannup see the riders head due North out of town, before looping around Balingup, flying down the Grimwade Rd Climb, and tackling the infamous “Mur du Hay”. Going up the Vasse Highway and turning onto Cundinup Kirup Road, the undulation roads around Mullayup and Balingup make for a brilliant punchy stage with an LBL style finish.

Stage 4 finishes the Tour just how it started, with a 42km Team Time Trial – this time from Balingup into Nannup. It’s a pretty flat stage in comparison to the others, although there are a few undulations as the riders carve their way through the various state forests in the area.

These 4 short, punchy, and fast stages will make up an amazing race in one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Many years were spent camping down that way as a kid, and these roads give a lot of fond memories (and beautiful scenery!). For a look at profiles, here is a link to the Race Info.

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Wineries, the ocean, and giant Marri trees. That’s the South West for you. Source: Cyclist Magazine.

I’ll be there!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to cover the Tour of Margaret River this year. There will be content on here every day, and I might try and sneak some rider interviews in. I’m also getting a new camera to take some nice photos while down there. I cannot thank the race organizers enough for the opportunity to cover this great race, and if you are down there over the week let me know!

The Tour of Margaret River is more than a cycling event for Western Australia. It’s a near-on month long festival of the sport, and with such talented riders coming along for the ride, it means everything for the growth of the sport in the state. I’m so hyped for November – it’s one of the best races on the calendar and this year looks like the best edition yet.

~The Cycling Raven