Stage 5 from Jindabyne from Canberra was the coldest start of the ride so far. It saw the departure of James Faulkner from the ride, but we added three new faces- Andy B, Sal and James Stevens. The team enjoyed a great buffet breakfast before Group 1 rolled out with the temps hovering around 7 degrees, but as the riders rode through the countryside towards morning tea at Cooma the temperatures dropped as low as 4 degrees. This was also about the time the groups reached the first sprint and it certainly didn’t help with keeping the blood flowing to some cold and sore muscles.
The group 1 sprint was won by Travis, with the group 2 sprint won by Andy Ballass, but due to a great tactical ambush in the sprint zone by George and Willem that upset the lead out train Andy wasn’t able to launch a full assault on the 1500 watt charity challenge.
After morning tea the weather took a turn for the worst and horrible headwinds made progress tiring and slow going. Group 1 worked as a team and rotated turns for the entirety of the middle stage while group 2, with fresh legs and new faces did the same when they weren’t battling some unexpected flat tyres. While the riders struggled the media team were able to get some great drone footage which will be unveiled in the final event video production.
In the final 50km segment we rode past the memorial for Indipac rider Mike Hall who was tragically killed during the event in 2017. The riders were also greeted and escorted into Canberra by 6 time Tour de France rider Steve Hodge. Steve gave us a guided ride into Parliament House where we posed for group photos and did some rider interviews. After the photos it was back to the hotel where riders completed their day- 195km and 2,000m of elevation and another day closer to Sydney.
The special guests didn’t end on the ride, with a staff member from the Finnish Embassy coming to the hotel to meet with Tanja to discuss the ride and Tanja’s efforts so far. All riders and staff also received a gift – a special reflector – to help keep the riders safe (trivia- did you know Finland invented the reflector!?)
The green jersey remains with Andy Ballas. The KOM jersey with handicapping system has moved over to Cyril. David retains the yellow jersey and has a nearly unassailable lead. The ‘Ingers Spirit of the Peloton’ jersey today was awarded to Neville from Orange Sky Laundry. His tireless work and efforts to support the riders this week has been amazing and he has truly made the ride a better experience for everyone involved – we thank you Neville for your help for all you have done.
Stay tuned for tomorrow – an astonishing 255km and over 3,000m of elevation lays ahead – wish us luck!