Running in conjunction with the Tour Down Under is the Beat Cancer Tour, a charity bike ride which offers its participants a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride every stage of the Tour Down Under just hours before the pros. The only difference is that team members of the Beat Cancer Team are everyday people, they don’t get paid and they aren’t conditioned like the professionals. They are participating on their own accord, pushing their bodies to the limit for one common cause; to raise money for vital cancer research. These guys may not be professionals by nature, but in terms of dedication, respect and passion they share similar attributes.
REDARC sponsored Beat Cancer Team members Kim Scott and Donald McGurk for the event, the money raised by team members will help save lives, raise awareness and progress research. Every 5 minutes, one Australian is diagnosed with cancer, changing their lives as well as their friends and family forever. One in two males and one in three females will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. The statistics are frightening and alarming and REDARC were eager to get behind Kim and Donald for this fantastic initiative which would help bring Australians closer to a world where cancer no longer means devastation.
The Santos Tour Down Under is the biggest cycling event in the Southern Hemisphere; it takes place throughout South Australia smack bang in the middle of January which is possibly the hottest time of year. It attracts some of the world’s biggest names in cycling – these professionals are accustomed to cycling over 140km, a day, it’s their job. The weather is something that you can’t rely on, to cycle 140 km in 40 °C heat is a challenge even for the most hardened professionals on the tour.
On conclusion of the Tour Kim and Donald managed to raise an astounding $34,555 between them, due to federal and state fund matching a total of $138,220 will be donated to the Cancer Council of South Australia. Overall the team raised in excess of $300,000 resulting in over $1.2M being donated.
On completion of the Tour, we asked Kim Scott to give us a brief rundown of each stage. When researching the various stages of the Tour the one thing that jumped out at me was the distances covered each day – that mixed with the extreme heat that they were riding in really does give you a greater appreciation of what these everyday people went through all for such a worthy cause – not all hero’s wear capes some wear lycra too.
(17 /1) Stage 1: Unley to Lyndoch (145km) (40 °C)
The first stage was one for the sprinters, a gruelling 145km ride in 40-degree weather. Riders departed from Unley, heading through the heart of the city and out to the scenic Barossa Valley where riders took in picturesque views of vineyards and pastures. This leg concludes with a frantic but well-deserved downhill run to the finish line in Lyndoch. The Pro’s only completed two laps of Lyndoch due to the extreme heat, missing out 27km of riding; however, the Beat Cancer team did all three loops in the same heat.
(18/1) Stage 2: Stirling to Paracombe (149km) (27 °C)
The cycling gods must have been watching as a cool change came through the night before bringing relief to riders in what was the toughest stage of the tour. The day started with 5 laps of the Stirling circuit before riders set off through the Adelaide Hills. This stage featured many brutal hill climbs including Norton Summit and Torrens Hill Roads as well as 1.5 km hill climb at an average incline of 9.4% into Paracombe to reach the finishing arch.
(19/1) Stage 3: Glenelg to Victor Harbor (144km) (39 °C)
Stage 3 saw the warm weather return for this varied stage which favoured sprinters. The peloton departed Glenelg and saw the team travel through the Fleurieu Peninsula and McLaren Vale wine regions. Riders took on Sellicks Hill for the King of the Mountain points before a much welcomed coastal breeze welcomed riders for the flat and fast finish into Victor Harbour. The Beat Cancer Tour was joined by ex-Prime Minister for this stage, which made for some interesting discussions on the bike and over lunch.
(20/1) Stage 4: Norwood to Campbelltown (150km) (27 °C)
Stage Four saw cyclists depart Norwood and head towards the hills again for what would be another stage dominated by hills climbs. The peloton looped around Birdwood, Springton and Mt Torrens before a nice downhill ride to the finish line in Campbelltown. This was also the stage for the public BUPA ride, which meant Beat Cancer Tour had over 6000 additional riders along for the day.
(21/1) Stage 5: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (152km) (30 °C)
The famous Willunga stage is often heralded as the highlight of the tour; it’s the longest stage coming in at 152km and often the deciding stage of the Tour. The day started in McLaren Vale which put on a show for the riders as usual. It featured three laps of loops along the coast, then twice up Willunga Hill for a frantic hill finish. The Beat Cancer Team made the first ascent of Willunga Hill at their own individual pace and finished the stage on the second ascent riding across the line as a team.
(22/1) Stage 6: Adelaide to Adelaide (90k) (36 °C)
The final day is a kermesse style stage which saw the team race through the streets of Adelaide on a fast-paced 4.5km circuit. It heavily favoured the sprinters and is concluded at the Tour Village in Victoria Square.
On behalf of all staff at REDARC we would like to congratulate the Beat Cancer Team on their hard work and dedication in completing the tour, no doubt there would be some tired and sore legs in the days after the race.
More importantly, though the team must be congratulated on the lives that will be saved through the money raised. Cancer is something that unfortunately impacts us all at some point in our lives; the importance of advancing cancer research cannot be overstated. Events like this truly help to make a difference and we are proud to have sponsored such a dedicated and selfless team.