Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

Billy on the Box: Cyclists don’t give a XXXX about a cheeky number

Published 01/02/2013

It wasn’t just tennis that was occupying the good folks on the other side of the world as Australians were everywhere you looked last week.

It seemed that every day was Australia Day, home and away, as some of their favourite sons and daughters were in action, either against near neighbours or in a country practising their chosen sport elsewhere. Try as I might, I just can’t get the Sullivans into this paragraph. Or Skippy.

Cycling took up a large part of the schedule on Sky in the wee small hours with live coverage of the Tour Down Under with Draperstown’s finest, Orla Chenaoui, the perfect choice to be on the spot in the soaring temperatures and searing sun.

I suspect foul play as one of the stages ended in Rostrevor, more shady goings on, while commentator Phil Liggett informed us that German rider Andre Greipel (pictured) has ‘a picture of a gorilla on his bike’. I |believe Lance Armstrong had a |cheetah…

And talking of taking the XXXX, there was a natural phenomenon I’d never witnessed live before as in the middle of a stage through the lush vineyards of McLaren Vale, riders suddenly pulled off at the side of the road.

“Time to turn the cameras off, this is what they call a ‘natural break’,” said Liggett and remember that the next time you pour yourself a glass of something cheeky from South Australia.

There was a brew of a different kind as Sri Lanka took on the Aussies in the cricket with one fan of the tourists holding up a sign saying ‘we put the tea in the T20’ but I’d just check it first.

They even play football in this part of the world now and I’m not saying it’s not a great level but Alessandro Del Piero scored four goals in a match last week as commentator Andy Harper informed us in typically forthright, if slightly dubious, Aussie style.

“They’re happy enough here in Sydney but they’re lifting the roof off in the restaurants in Turin. Their favourite son is single-handedly ripping the football club out of Wellington, limb by merciless limb,” he hinted. Strewth.

Things weren’t going so well in the netball in England as the Diamonds were white-washed by the Roses, watched, bizarrely, by rugby giant Martin Johnson and captained by the wonderfully named Pamela Cookey. She’s a real monster on the court.

And finally it was back to Sydney as Andrew Castle’s favourites aerobics stars took to an archery field (surely lycra will not withstand an arrow?) but there’s only so long I can watch scantily clad, sweating, blonde, sinewy ladies bending themselves into shapes Boris Becker can only dream about.

Seven hours, 27 minutes if you’re asking.

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