Over The Tour Down Under

As the Tour Down Under gets underway, we thought we’d take a second to go back and look at the race from a slightly different perspective. If you thought shots from the back of the moto were cool, think again. Find the entire issue in digital form here. —Ed.

Words and Photos by Gregg Bleakney
I don't believe in god, but while hovering at 1,500 feet over the peloton in a Bell Ranger helicopter—my vantage point for Australia's Tour Down Under—I couldn't help but think that this is what a cycling race would look like through a supreme deity's eyes. Bandaged elbows, hard stares and heroics are reduced to dotted elements in a much bigger composition—patterns that could never be fully understood from the ground. Cycling is one of the only sports that explores and showcases the world around us. There are no stadiums to restrict its spectators and no roofs to shield its athletes from the elements. Its arena is landscape—and landscape reveals its true secrets from the heavens. And watching a cycling race from 1,500 feet in the air is about as close to heaven as I could imagine.