The Other Australians

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By Matthew Keenan

aussies
While most of the media attention in Australia, rightly so, is focused on Cadel Evans six other Australians are at the Tour de France playing important roles with varying success.

Matt Lloyd, a Silence-Lotto teammate of Evans, not surprisingly had a difficult first few stages but the flat lands aren’t really his thing.

Lloyd was reasonable on the mountain top finish to Arcalis in Andorra but struggled the following day, which is probably a symptom of having missed some key weeks following his crash in April at the Amstel Gold Race.

Evans will need Lloyd in the final week, which makes the second week an important one for the little Victorian climber. Lloyd needs to conserve as much energy as possible in week two so he can play a role during the mountains of the final week.

The most successful of the Australians so far has been Mark Renshaw, Columbia-HTC.

Renshaw has the responsibility of leading Mark Cavendish out in the sprints and has done a flawless job, which has produced two stage wins.

His best ride of the opening week was on stage three in the crosswinds when there was still enough left in the tank to deliver Cavendish to the line.

Michael Rogers, Columbia-HTC, has been the unluckiest of the Australian contingent.

Rogers hadn’t put a foot wrong but sadly fell the victim of a crash in the rain on the stage to Barcelona. The injuries sustained, along with his impressive Giro d’Italia, will probably catch-up with him throughout the next two weeks.

Stuart O’Grady, Saxo Bank, was solid on the first four stages but hasn’t quite shown the same form as last year.

That can be put down to his crash at the end of March in Milan – San Remo and the fact Saxo Bank is yet to lay their cards on the table.

With his ability to read a race, O’Grady is likely to be the most important member of the Saxo Bank team in stages 10 and 13 when race radios will be banned.

Brett Lancaster, Cervelo Test Team, has been the unsung hero. Mr Quiet just goes about his business. He did the perfect job for Thor Hushovd in Barcelona and the big Norwegian got the win.

Heinrich Haussler, Cervelo Test Team, was on target to be the man to lead Hushovd out in the Barcelona sprint but was taken out by a crash, not once but twice. Haussler could play a key role in Hushovd’s green jersey aspirations.

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