The Roar
The Roar

John Thompson-Mills


Joined January 2013







'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.



Hi Spruce moose,
Some great suggestions there, but it’s crucial to remember that the SA Govt approached the UCI about the idea of a Tour Down Under.
And one of the key reasons it succeeds is because for a race in January, it can’t be too demanding for the riders as it’s the first race on the calendar.
SO it can’t be too mountainous or have huge long days in the saddle or the riders wont come.
The TDU is essentially the right mix of parcours, but like everything,should always be looking to innovate.

Five tweaks to keep the Tour Down Under fresh

the entire tour won’t be moved around as it’s an SA Govt tourism event, but i have written in the past about the sunday night race being raced interstate as a sort of grand depart type event.

Five tweaks to keep the Tour Down Under fresh

yes, he certainly is a huge talent. Under different circumstances he might have challenged today, but I think mentally he’d already decided that he would lose the ochre jersey on the journey to Stirling. There’s no doubt he’ll bounce back later in the week though.

Caleb Ewan: 'There's a new kid in town'

yes, it seems that in some respect they are paying lip service to the bike checks. I think in the way that drug test are mandated for stage winners, race leaders etc, then the same should apply to their bikes. It seems extreme to be talking about it, but as everyone acknowledges, the technology is out there. It can’t be assumed that no one would try it.

Reflections on the 102nd Tour de France

Well spotted typo there. I’ll get the editors at Roar HQ to alter it.’

I had earlier mentioned him as the first non-European to wear yellow, so somehow the other reference got through.

Sorry to hear about your fall. It sounds horrible, but why not take inspiration from Lemond if it going to help you recover.

I agree, I think Stage 1 set the tone for this race which I expect to be epic starting tonight with the coastal winds and threat of storms.

No need to apologise for your passion either.

Simply Clever: The five greatest moments in Tour de France history

I actually suggested a change of cities for the TDU, in a piece I wrote for the Roar back in January. In the same way that the Tour de France has its Grand Depart, perhaps the TDU could have what is now the “Classic” in cities who bid to host the race. The TDU proper would still happen in and around Adelaide though. In the future, perhaps some of the logistical restraints will have to be reconsidered to keep the race evolving.

Tour Down Under refreshed for 2016

But even just managing today, with the wind and trying to protect two riders AND control the race with only six riders will be hard enough. BMC can’t publicly say it’s all about Cadel when they have another rider in the race lead. It’s a good dilemma to have though.

Dennis takes ochre at TDU: What happens now?

ha! it’s not a bad theory though, and it has statistical support. as they say, time will tell.

Did we see the Tour Down Under winner today?

Hi Jarrod, as a South Australian I fully appreciate the parochialism of the locals particularly when it comes to losing events to other states. I think though there will come a time when people will realise that the Tour Down Under IS a South Australian event. South Australia is where it belongs. And South Australia is where it will stay. I know who owns the event and that’s why I don’t worry about the TDU disappearing should they decide that an interstate Grand Depart is an innovation they are keen on. IF the Govt went down this road the deal would be on its terms. We are only talking about one day, that day is of course not a part of the TDU. The thing about a Grand Depart is it’s an innovation that won’t cost the SA taxpayers any extra money, and will even create some income for the Govt through the bidding process. It doesn’t even have to happen every year, but importantly it will give the race a whole new look.

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

Good points Matthew, thanks for making them. I reckon ultimately the UCI will look at any proposal that is well funded and is not detrimental to the the teams. So, any idea is up for negotiation. Assuming there’s something special planned for the 20th anniversary, there’s still plenty of time to fully think out the logistics in terms of the politics and regulations.

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

Good call. Time trials have often been discussed to help innovate the TDU and yes, if for instance the TT went uphill you could use road bikes and thus reduce costs etc. Don’t rule it out I’d say.

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

The Cadel Road Race is a great idea but the calendar is so crowded, finding more time for races would be hard. No doubt the Classic is a successful formula, but for the special occasion that the the 20th anniversary will be, it’s worth doing something really spectacular.

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

The idea of a Grand Depart is to maximise the vision opportunities so it’d have to be the harbour in Sydney. If the TDF can lock down London for a day then anything is possible?

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

I agree re the convenience of the TDU. As I wrote, the race ain’t broke and the riders love it. But why not try this as a onc -off? Given the race remains a World Tour event the teams will be obliged to send good riders here so no fear there. They will still stay in the same hotel for the lead up to the Tour and then the race week. Any flight is only a couple of hours, which is no huge demand and IF say the Grand Depart is raced on the Saturday there’s an extra day to accommodate the required transfers before the real race starts on the Tuesday. My overall point is that the TDU should always be trying to innovate to stay fresh. It’s too hard to do take the actual TDU any further than two hours drive from Adelaide, but the Classic, why not?

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

what do you think needs to happen next to make it happen?

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

I agree. I think it’s worth trying at least as a once off for the 20th anniversary. The TDF doesn’t lose anything by hosting its Grand Depart in other parts of Europe. What is there to lose?

How about a Grand Depart for the Tour Down Under?

I had a look for that answer…couldn’t find a definite answer. We had nine last year, so have just gone with that, but it’s a fair question, and I could have been wrong to assume.

Smells like September: Picking the team for the World Race Championships

Not sure that I am tbh. Yes, there was a situation but it didn’t blow up into a big issue, but I was just posing the question, what if it did escalate, what processes are in place? Could we see suspensions and fines? I’m not sure because it’s not clear on the UCI website. So I’m suggesting that maybe now is a good time to get their house in order. And, if the UCI has already got procedures in place, then they should be very publicly available so no one can be in any doubt. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

Cycling and racism: UCI needs to get ahead of the game

Well he is definitely out now. Matthews made the call himself, but as OGE team director Matt White told me, the race start was too tough for him to manage.

“If we’d had a typical prologue and couple of flat stages we would definitely been able to keep Michael Matthews in the race.

But as it stands Sunday wouldn’t been difficult to pass and then the pave (Stage 5) would’ve been borderline.But by then it would’ve been ready to heal up.

“But at the end of the day he wasn’t ready to go. It was his decision.

“He wasn’t confident in the control he could get with his hand.

“So forcing someone to start is a waste of time when we can start with nine healthy riders. It’s too risky, not only for him but also for everyone else.’

OGE's Michael Matthews likely to miss Tour de France

Fascinating. So IF Wiggins does miss the Tour then surely he will be leaving SKY shortly afterwards. But if you were Matt White, would his personality profile be on you’d want to invite into Orica GreenEDGE? Doesn’t sound like a good fit.

If Wiggo misses the 2014 Tour he only has himself to blame

Sometimes it’s not until things are over that we realise how good they were. This Giro may be a case in point. And I just focused on the Aussie highlights!

The Giro d'Australia

Since writing this piece I’ve had a couple of conversations with people who’ve told me that OGE is simply not interested in signing Rohan Dennis. There are even rumours he’s signed for another team. The GC debate for OGE is a fascinating one, because as stated, it’s not just about bringing in the designated rider, he will need support too. OGE don’t quite have that aspect of their roster finalised yet either, well not in terms of mature riders. The team should look at a genuine GC Grand Tour campaign as a four year project.

Bring Rohan Dennis to Orica-GreenEDGE

What would the benefit of a cyclist being registered be to the actual cyclist?
Would it mean they are guaranteed a certain level of infrastructure?
Would I need a rego for all my bikes?
Would it mean cyclists will get more respect from motorists?

I was talking to some people today who want all cyclists banned from the Adelaide Hills, primarily because they say we are too slow and therefore too dangerous. They claim hills roads were not built for cyclists and motorists to share. They don’t want new infrastructure, just a ban. Not sure they care about a rego.

If I had to pay rego for a bike then it would need to be massively expensive because as this article has demonstrated there is often no consistency in cycling infrastructure from street to street let alone city to city.
So make me pay rego and I’d expect good stuff for me to ride on, on the roads. I don’t want bike tracks unless they run parallel to roads as where I live, they tend to be too meandering. As a bike commuter I want to get to work as safely and quickly as possible, and that means using arterial roads. So my bike lanes need to be constant and well maintained…with no cars parked in them.

Face it, cycling is a clean and cheap form of transport, that helps keep people healthy and (accidents notwithstanding) out of doctor’s surgeries and hospitals. Cycling is good for the environment too and of course takes cars off the road.

Sadly, like some motorists, not everyone acts like they know the road rules, and thus gives a bad name to the rest.
Given registration and penalties/punishments for bad driving doesn’t stop road trauma, and some absolutely appalling driving,what makes you think registering cyclists will do weed out our “bad apples?”

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

It’s good that you have read my piece, but if you’re going to throw my quotes back at me, please don’t selectively do so. It takes things out of context.
here is the relevant part in full.
“I also have a little problem with the camera on the bike.

Yes, it’s helped write this story, and it might even help catch someone guilty of an offence, but sometimes I wonder what’s behind the purpose of putting a camera on your commute ride?

Is there a secret hope you might catch a motorist ‘bang to rights’ cutting you off or almost killing you? Does it automatically make you a little more aggressive and tensed up about what might happen? I reckon it does.”

I fully understand how valuable the camera on a bike can be, but my point was whether it may actually make people a little more willing to put themselves in a vulnerable position so that they may catch a motorist out. Almost like they go looking for trouble. I can see some people with this attitude, rather than just a “this camera is for my protection” attitude.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

I’m glad you were treated so well by the people that caused your accident. Not everyone is so lucky. I see the guy in Melbourne who “doored” the cyclist has apologised for his disrespectful behaviour.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!