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TDU’12 St.3: Greipel Takes The Gallop And Lead
As I enter the start area, it is evident that there are many recurring themes that I am going to encounter this week: riders holding joeys, riders talking to pretty girls in the crowd, and that damn Tour Down Under theme song, “Feel the Rush!”. Let's tag along for another day chasing the Tour Down Under!

Words and Photography by Dave Lipnowski

Robbie McEwen holds a joey prior to the start of the stage.

Rabobank rider Michael Matthews speaks to a young lady prior to the start of stage 3 in Unley.

GreenEDGE rider Matt Goss gets ready for the day on the road.

Rabobank rider Luis Leon Sanchez and a mechanic look very excited prior to the start of stage 3 of the Tour Down Under!

A pair of Lotto-Belisol legs hang out of a team vehicle as riders try to stay loose and relaxed prior to the start of the races.

When I enquired about the origins of the pop-rock theme song you get to hear twice a day, and whether a big name Australian band was involved, I was told that it was likely just "loco sesh musos", which means "local sessional musicians" for those that don't speak Australian. I'm going to digress here, just a warning. Australians shorten a lot of words. Poker machines become "pokies", sunglasses become "sunnies", board shorts "boardies", University "Uni", breakfast "breaky", McDonalds "Maccas", and the list goes on, and on, and on.

I've often asked why this abomination of the English language is so common place here, and the two most popular responses that I have received are that 1. Australians are lazy, and 2. it sounds cool, (perhaps a bit of surf culture influence, I wonder). Either way, it sometimes takes me a little longer to understand the slang. But all joking aside, I really do love Australia, and Australians. I’d love to find a photography job and live here before my Visa runs out real soon (cough, cough: any newspapers or photo studios out there in OZ).

I often tell people that Australia is basically just a warm version of Canada, but the people talk a little funny. Getting back to my point, this theme song is played at the start and finish of each day, and I can't get it out of my head, it's driving me crazy. You can listen to the song here, but be warned, you may be singing it all week long:

I spotted yesterday's stage winner UniSA`s William Clarke outside of the rider’s area signing autographs in the crowd. I have not seen riders leave the gated off area until Clarke this morning. Everyone was patting him on the back and saying "good job". I followed him into a cafй and fans immediately recognized him and went up to him to shake his hand and get a picture or autograph.

William Clarke speaks to fans inside a cafй in Unley.

He walked towards the back of the cafй, and went into the washroom. I didn't follow him in. When he came out fans again approached him for autographs. As he approached the secured rider’s area, I lifted the fan barricade to let him through before me, and he thanked me. I took this opportunity to chat with him. I asked him how many people tried to talk to him while he tried to take a piss? He laughed, and said, "yea, quite a few", I responded that he will have to get used to that now, and he pondered that thought for a moment before rejoining his teammates.

I'm in a new media car for the day, and it's just me and Reece Homfray, a sports reporter for Adelaide's only daily newspaper, The Advertiser, and our driver Roy. The guys are nice, and we have a race radio and can hear some updates about an early breakaway group.

We try to stop a few times to watch the race, but the alternate routes to get us to the finish line in Victor Harbor would put us too far out, so we head straight to the finish area. I'm disappointed in the access, as no photos could be taken along the route.

A fan waits for the race to come to her Thursday afternoon.

We arrive in Victor Harbor almost 2 hours early for the finish, and it’s a warm day in the low to mid 30’s, so I head straight towards the beach, hoping for some pictures of sunbathers to set the scene, but all I find is one family and an older couple wearing lots of clothes. Disappointed once again.

It was a warm day on the beach, but no sun worshippers could be found.

Victor Harbor is a very picturesque town by the water.

There are 3 camels and a pony on the beach available for rides though. This seaside town seems quite quaint. Apparently a lot of people retire out here, and it is a popular spot for schoolies week (a week off school). Granite Island is across the causeway and a horse drawn tram leaves regularly, and there is a carnival near the finish line as well. Yup, it is quite quaint. For such a nice place for a finish line, it’s sad to see that the finish line couldn’t be incorporated into the ocean vista. Third disappointment of the day. I'm really hoping to take one decent photo today!

Horse drawn trams provide transport from Victor Harbor to Granite Island. This is one of several things I saw waiting for the riders to come into town, having arrived at the finish line almost 2 hours early.

Three camels sit on the beach. For $10 you can ride a camel, or pony along the beach at Victor Harbor.

Greipel wins the stage in a bunch sprint, and regains his race lead after losing it after stage 2. My bad luck continues, as photographers lean over the barrier (after strict orders not to from the organizers), blocking most of my frame of the finish line sprint.

Andre Greipel wins yet another stage of the Tour Down Under. Stage 3 was won in a bunch sprint with Equipe Cycliste FDJ-Big Mat rider Yauheni Hutarovich coming in second, and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Sky Procycling placing third.

After photographing the sprint, I walk around the team areas looking for interesting pictures or stories, but I'm not seeing much. There is a pack of cougars ogling the riders as the teams change in clear sight of them. There was quite a bit of whistling as the crowd got a good view of some really white European asses.

Talking to the cougars afterwards, I notice some people in the ocean, and walk towards the water hoping for some bikinis to get that scenic shot that tells the story about the hot day ending by the sea side.

It turns out it’s the Quickstep team having fun in the water, splashing each other. Several men run in fully dressed in their full team kit, including socks (they probably don’t do their own laundry anyway). I snap some shots from land and decide to take off my shoes and wade in wearing my shorts to get that great shot I've been waiting for all day. I barely get one shoelace untied before they walk out. Oh well, I'm the only media in the area so it's an exclusive, and it made for a great set of images. The day is redeemed.

The Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team has fun splashing around in the water.

The Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team holds a team meeting in the ocean following stage 3 of The Tour Down Under.

The Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team leaves the water after cooling off directly after stage 3.

I head back to the podium area just in time for the presentations. All of the other photographers and broadcast journalists are waiting there, and I finally feel pleased with myself that I made some unique images. The fact that no one else saw this spectacle in the water is icing on the cake for me. Andre Greipel receives the Ochre Jersey after losing it on stage 2.

Andre Greipel gets the kisses from the Tour Hostess` after pulling on the Ochre Jersey Thursday afternoon.

Andre Greipel is framed between the legs of a Tour Hostess just prior to receiving the Ochre Jersey Thursday afternoon.

Tomorrow's BUPA stage 4 race starts in Norwood and finishes in Tanuda, but not before things get interesting with a category one climb called Mengler’s Hill which should tear the peloton apart and put time between the GC contenders.


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