For most riders in the Tour Down Under peloton, the year’s first WorldTour race ran for a measly six stages. But for four of the toughest riders, there was another stage to tackle after the first six had been completed.
Pushing their bodies further, the four riders escaped the confines of the team hotel on Sunday evening and lined up for the toughest challenge of their racing careers. OK, maybe not.
It all came together during a rambling conversation over a chicken parma and a beer and resulted in what we like to think of as the unofficial seventh stage of the Tour Down Under. It’s a race that was unsanctioned, had no UCI points on offer (we’re working on that) and was like nothing else on the pro circuit.
Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), Carter Jones (Giant-Alpecin), Koen de Kort (Giant-Alpecin) and neo-pro Michael Gogl (Tinkoff) all assembled at 5pm in front of the Hilton Hotel only hours after stage 6 of the Tour Down Under had wrapped up. With the help of Laura Fletcher of The Peloton Brief as passenger and camerawoman, plus the guys at EcoCaddy — an Adelaide-based rickshaw taxi company — we set up a miniature racecourse around an empty car park.
Four witches hats marked out the course, an armchair salvaged from a skip served as both the start line and the podium, and a few bottled beverages were put aside to serve as prizes.
The format was simple: each rider would do two laps of the course in an EcoCaddy with the electric-assist motor switched off, the gear set to a single grinding speed. The rider with the fastest time would be crowned the winner of the inaugural Stage 7 EcoCaddy Rickshaw Cup.
As a heads-up, if you’re a little sensitive to the odd curse word you may want to skip the video above or, at least, avoid watching Michael Gogl’s laps. The man drops a couple of F-bombs.
Huge thanks to Laura, the guys at EcoCaddy, Tim Bardsley-Smith for the photos below, and the four horsemen of the rickshaw.