Some of the highlights of my Tour Down Under:

– Waking up at 8am every day, starting the morining by going out for coffee with mates, getting a solid 100km each day in some of the most beautiful terrain you could imagine. Adelaide has it all!

– Going to the Green Edge press announcement and witnessing first hand the ambitions of the project. This is the real deal. If these guys can’t get an Australian team in the Tour de France, no one can.

– Bumping into so many people who follow this blog and meeting new and familiar faces on the road. I’ll never get tired of people coming up and introducing themselves and telling me they read this site. Thank you!

– Being in amongst the media scrum is still a buzz for me. I got to know guys like Anthony Tan, Dave McKenzie, and Rupert Guinness and am blown away with how welcoming and kind these guys were to me.

– Riding home every day with the likes of Leopard, Astana, Liquigas, etc. You can’t do this at any other bike race in the world.

– Having drinks at the Hilton every night and looking around and seeing the top riders and cycling personalities in the world sitting next to you.

– Sitting in the BMC team car for stage 4 and witnessing Cam Meyer turn the race up on it’s head. I wish I could share that experience with you, however BMC has a blanket policy of no media in the car. I was there as a guest of BMC, not media.

– Having dinner with the BMC team and sitting next to Allesandro Ballan. He’s an incredibly modest and humble man it was easy to forget that he’s a former World Champion, won the Tour of Flanders, won a stage of the Vuelta, and 3rd at Paris-Roubaix. It was one of those “pinch me” moments in my life. I can’t thank BMC, Cam Whiting, and Echelon sports enough for giving me these moments in my life that I’ll never forget. If you’re wondering, Allesandro ate two massive steaks, a bit of pasta, and skipped the wine.

– Last but not least, I was jumping out of my skin seeing this new generation of Aussies take the race by the horns. Matty Goss, Cam and Travis Meyer, Michael Matthews, Richie Porte, Jack Bobridge, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Timothy Roe, Mitch Docker, Simon Clarke are the future of Australian Cycling. The amount of Australian cycling talent rising is phenomenal and it’s great to see these guys doing so well at the beginning of their careers.

Stage 6

The first time I remember seeing Cam Meyer race was in 2007 at Vodafone Arena here in Melbourne. He was racing a scratch race and I noticed him straight away while he was warming up. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but he looked so smooth and fluid on the bike. He’s one of the only riders I’ve ever seen who I said with complete confidence “he’s gonna be a star”. He won that scratch race of course.

Cam can climb, he can time trial, he can certainly knows how to rip it up on the track. I’d hate to put too much pressure on this young man, but he has all the makings of a Tour de France winner one day if he keeps progressing. His contract with Garmin-Transitions is up on Dec. 31, 2011 and he’s been linked to Green Edge’s premature recruiting tactics (which may or may not be true…I don’t know). Perhaps Vaughters will terminate him early like him like he did to Matt White?  Not likely…

Hopefully you had as great of a week as I did. If you have any stories or photos you want to share feel free to post them in the comments section. I’d be keen to hear about them.

Stage 6 Results
1 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling 1:53:47
2 Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Procycling
3 Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Radio Shack
5 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
7 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
8 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
9 Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard Trek
10 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) UNI SA – Australia
11 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
12 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
13 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team
14 Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
15 Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
16 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad
17 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre – ISD
18 Luke Roberts (Aus) UNI SA – Australia
19 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
20 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo

Final General Classification
1 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 17:54:27
2 Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad 0:00:02
3 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:08
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:09
5 Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:10
6 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
7 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:26
8 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana 0:00:27
10 Luke Roberts (Aus) UNI SA – Australia 0:00:28