January 20, 2007
Stage 3, Stirling Victor Harbor, 128km
Well the weather man finally got it right! The rains are here. Although we were greeted with a break in the weather while we headed to the start in Stirling. The break was welcome because the winding roads out of the town were bound to be greasy.
It wasn't the South Africans' day. On an early descent, Robbie Hunter had a spill and teammate Darren Lill crossed it up on a corner but he managed to hold it up. Nice work, mate!
So the attacks kicked off early and by the tenth kilometer, a 19 man group had formed. They rode hard for the first hour, holding off the chasing bunch by a minute before the Chocolade Jacques and Agributel teams gave up. The first 50km were all over in an hour which was making for a short day and caused us to finish half an hour ahead of schedule.
For the main field, it was just cruise mode for most of the day except for the KOM at 85km. I noticed CSC forming at the front before the climb, so made sure I was near the front once the climb began. Sure enough, they lit it up. About 30 riders went over the top together, with the leader's' jersey on his own, but no one wanted to keep riding over the top, and everything came back together.
Back up front, the rain was still coming down, and the break started to split apart. Two riders had gone clear and managed to hold off the bits and pieces of the break. Viktor (Rapinski) had been up front all day and had collected a number of sprint points along the way to take over the lead in that category.
For the rest of us, it was a reasonably easy day, a welcome one at that given the upcoming almighty Wilunga stage.
As far as I know, it has never rained like this ever in the TDU but it's proved its point and can go away for now.