Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tour de Timor

Final stage!

Stage 5 was a fast 97km stage from Maubisse back to Dili with a grand finish in front of the Timor Presidential palace. A stage mostly of descending, but in true Timor style sending us to the heavens on what climbs were in the course.

As you know from the previous post, Team Mad Dogs still had some work to do to regain the lead, and as far as the time splits went the race was anyone's.

From the gun the race was on, our teams first plan was to hit the group from the start line! The pure fury and power unleashed on the start caught a lot of people off guard, including myself.

Attack after attack on the first initial climbs set the tone of the final stage. Neil and Pete would get away and just after the KOM it was clear the Yellow jersey was struggling. Soon after Neil had the break that could ultimately put him back in the yellow jersey, fortunately he was in good company with Mark Frendo of team SHORTIS. It was all up to those boys now, would they work well together, or were we asking too much of Neil?

Although the final stage was mostly down hill, make no mistake in thinking it was an easy stage, Neil was chewing stem to keep away, and put in as much time as possible to the chases.

The last 8 km's to the finish line were the most memorable moments of the whole trip. Thousands of Timor Leste people lined the street, dictating the path you took to the finish line, a human barrier, screaming, jumping and covering you in flower petals. This was amazing, and in a way numbed the pain as you dug into the reserves of 5 days of hard racing, the noise was so loud you couldn't here yourself think.

And to cap it all off NEIL BLOODY WON!!! The stage was won by Mark Frendo, but together they put in enough time for Neil to regain the Yellow Jersey! He rode the stage of his life and pulled out something extra special for us.

Total elation followed, we had just won the first ever Tour de Timor, the race was over, the atmosphere was ecstatic... We couldn't of had a better tour!

Team Mad Dogs: Neil Van der Ploeg, Peter Hatton & Scott Liston,


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