FRIDAY FEB 28 / 2020 / by Andrew Talati

WolfPack at Stage 6 on Willunga HillStage 6 on Willunga Hill - left to right - Ben Neumann, Christian Knoester, Kiel Paris, Ryan Shelley

For Kiel Paris and Christian Knoester from Penrith, NSW and cousins Ryan Shelley and Ben Neumann from Geelong, Victoria, this year is the second time they've been on the Tour Down Under after their last appearance in 2017.

They were all introduced by mutual friends and after working together became mates. Their shared love of cycling, fine food and beer brought them together to reunite in Adelaide on Monday.

Motorhome on tour

Back in 2017 they travelled in style with a motorhome to follow during all of the stages. This year they have positioned themselves in one place, driving back and forth to all of the stage. This will give them a bit more freedom and access to great spots than what the motorhome offered.

Haven't missed a stage

Wolfpack with Richie Porte - Willunga Hill - South AustraliaWith Richie Porte in the Ochre Jersey after winning the last Stage & overrall 2017 GC winner,  Willinga HIll finish

I caught up with the boys at Stage 3 at the Mt Torrens KOM and again at Stage 6 on the Willunga Hill and they had not missed any of the stages. 

Balancing life, work and cycling 

Wolfpack at Stage 6  on Willunga Hill with Richie Porte off the frontStage 6 on Willunga Hill with Richie Porte off the front on his way to his 2nd TDU GC win in 2020

Kiel and Christian head down to Geelong for the Cadel Evans Road Race and the Around the Bay event as well when life and work allows them. They joke that they get to participate in these events, 'when Minister of Finance allows us to do that we grab it with every opportunity'.

There is a lot of planning in the works for a good 6 – 8 months with everyone coming together and getting time off work.

'Its a fabulous event and that's why we do it'

Wolfpack at TDU with Fabian CancellaraTDU with Fabian Cancellara - photo courtesy of Kiel Paris

Unfortunately, Ben has had to sit out Stage 3 because of a tendon issue in his foot. The boys joked that he hurt his heart muscle and pulled a tear duct. The last two events to the harbour and Willunga Hill are unmissable so Ben has sat the stage out to properly recover.

Getting to every stage — military precision

Wolfpack at Stage 3 KOM at Mt Torrens in South AustraliaWolfpack at Stage 3 KOM - TDU at Mt Torrens in South Australia

With the challenges of riding every stage (without completing the necessary training leading up to the TDU) the fact that you can do it by car means that you can shoot in and out 2 -3 times through each stage and make it to the stage finish.

For Stage 3 the route is planned out to finish in Murray Bridge with the car set and ready to depart. As soon as the parade and peloton goes through they will head in the opposite direction and hopefully make it there by 10 - 15 minutes before they roll in. The goal is to make it to every stage finish.

Everyone loves the Wolfpack 

Wolfpack with Jens VoigtWith Jens Voigt - photo courtesy of Kiel Paris

The idea came from the last time they came across when they had different suits and everyone loved it. People loved the colour and flavour their suits brought to the event. The kids love it and everyone wants to get a photo and they haven't said no to a photo opportunity yet.

Green & gold suits

Wolfpack with Matt KeenanWith Matt Keenan on the left - photo courtesy of Kiel Paris

The fact the the TDU is tying in with the Australia Day weekend means they will bring the green and gold in for this year.

Just a few familiar faces

Wolfpack at the TDU with Caroline BuchananWith Caroline Buchanan - photo courtesy of Kiel Paris

Wolfpack at TDU with Paul SherwenWith cycling royalty Paul Sherwen who sadly left us in 2018

Wolfpack at TDU with Crikey Cadel, the unoffical BMC MascotWith Crikey Cadel, the hardest working unoffical mascot of BMC - photo courtesy of Kiel Paris