The north of England, I can confirm, is damp and cold at this point in January. My first reaction to the sight the pro peloton limbering up for, and then racing in, the Tour Down Under, clad in shorts and summer jerseys, is one of seething envy.
What can I say? I’ve taken my eye off the ball. I’ve had a few weeks off and thought I could catch up. And I find myself swimming in a sea of pro cyclists riding for unfamiliar teams wearing unfamiliar kit.