Bundaberg's Rheed McCracken.
Bundaberg's Rheed McCracken. Emma Reid

Opinion: Bundy stars shine bright in world of sports

Boundary Rider by Ben Turnbull

FOR some people, the idea of switching the TV to SBS for the Tour de France may appeal as a cure for insomnia.

Watching men ride around the French countryside would certainly put some people to sleep in an instant.

But I just can't get enough of the annual suffer fest that finishes in Paris at the end of this month.

It's no secret I love sport, so it may not surprise the Tour is something I enjoy, but there is something extra special about the athletes that brings me back each night.

The toughness they show is extraordinary.

Riding for hundreds of kilometres up and down breathtaking mountains for three weeks in the French summer takes an incredible amount of effort.

They are professional athletes and their reward at the end of the Tour may not amount to much compared to the earnings of some sports stars, but they ride 3480km regardless.

While I was watching Thursday's stage from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, I started to think about some of Bundaberg's elite athletes, and again I was in awe of what some people do.

This little, old town on the Queensland coast has produced some amazing stars in the past, but there are a few right now who are shining.

Photographs of Rheed McCracken training have been appearing on my social media feed, and seeing them makes me smile.

A few weeks ago I saw images of Taryn Gollshewsky competing while she was in Townsville - stunning photos, but they also reinforced how hard she has worked to be at the top of her sport.

And in football, Bundaberg's Josh Brillante (Socceroo and A-League champion) just signed a two-year deal with Melbourne City to continue his glittering career.

All three are in vastly different sports, but have something in common - the toughness required to get to the top, and stay there.

Not for a second can I pretend to know what sacrifices Rheed, Tarny and Josh have made to get where they are, but I am sure it has taken a lot out of them physically and mentally to be the best.

The riders in the Tour are great and deserve recognition, but the trio of Bundaberg athletes shining on the world stage at the moment truly deserve our admiration.