'Big Mig' has a lot to answer for. Better known as Miguel Indurain, the five time Tour de France winner is responsible for getting John hooked on cycling in the early 1990's when SBS first started their nightly TV coverage. Yes, the amazing French scenery helped, but so did a face-to-face interview John did in 1997 with Stuart O'Grady just after his debut Tour.
Since then John has reported cycling for radio, print and online media. He has only missed one edition of the Tour Down Under (1999) and in 2014 went to the Tour de France for The Roar and ABC Radio.
John also loves riding and in March is riding in the Three Peaks Challenge in the Victorian Snowfields.
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As I tap out the first few keystrokes of this piece, the rain is starting to fall on Rohan Dennis and the other 197 riders in the 102 edition of the Tour de France.
It didn’t take long to realise that last night’s Tour de France opener was going to be something special.
According to the Oxford Dictionary definition, for something to be great, it needs to be “considerably above the average” and “important or the most important.”
Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur has one of the hardest jobs in Australian sport.
It’s hard to imagine Cadel Evans raving about the parcours for the 2015 Grand Boucle. Likewise, Sir Bradley wouldn’t be salivating at riding this particular 3344km lap of France. And don’t even ask five-time winner Miguel Indurain.
The racing in this year’s Tour Down Under has been as good as I can remember. As always race director Mike Turtur made only subtle changes to the course, but his judgement was again spot on as those subtle changes proved decisive.