Selecting the Australian Team for the Worlds – A Good Problem To Have…
Did you realize that it’s only 42 days until the UCI World Championships in Geelong? It seems like only yesterday where Cadel soloed his way to his dramatic win in Mendrisio, Switzerland. That excitement is only a few weeks from our doorstep and it’s time to talk it up!
Last week while racing in Geelong a couple of us decided to go back and take a spint on the World’s course. After seeing it again I haven’t changed my mind that it’s a circuit best suited to classics riders. I’ll be very surprised to see it come down to a sprint. If you haven’t seen the course yet, the above video is a condensed version of the 16km circuit and its highlights. For more information on the course you can start here.
Today we have a guest post from Jamie Jowett, a man with an impeccable memory for odd cycling facts and the one responsible for entertaining us with the Giro and TdF Quizes. Today Jamie will be giving us his thoughts on the Aussie selection for this year’s worlds on our home turf.
Selecting the Australian Team for the Worlds – A Good Problem To Have…
by Jamie Jowett
Last week Cycling Australia announced a squad of 15 for the UCI Worlds. Needing to trim that down to 9 by August 24th, the selectors have a tough job to say the least.
11 Aussies started the Tour and 26 are on Pro Tour teams. Richie Porte had a break-through Giro, it was like a Myer Stocktake Sale with Aussies grabbing three of the four coloured jerseys on the podium. Before the Tour, Cadel Evans was a genuine favourite, and Mick Rogers took the Tour of California in a strong field. Aussie cycling is so strong that our national champion Travis Meyers probably didn’t even last a minute in the selection meeting. The strength of our ranks also meant missing out were riders the calibre of Lloyd, Lancaster, Brown, Clarke, Roberts, Borbidge, Wilson and Lowe.
Adding spice is the rumour floating around after the last Worlds that the Australians voted for who would be their protected rider – Cadel supposedly wasn’t selected, prompting him to argue with team management before the start. Apparently the Aussies all voted for Gerro, who missed the crucial breakaway but finished 10th.
Evans was supposedly allocated only Wes Sulzberger and instead worked with Spanish riders and Belgian ex-Silence Lotto team mates. Evans hasn’t spoken of this publicly, which may suggest the story is either untrue (highly likely) or be true to his private nature.
Quick trivia Q – which Aussie in the squad has won silver in the world champs road race?
My summary, for what it’s worth as a back of the Beach Road Gruppetto/Café Racer expert is:
After breaking his elbow Evans has pulled out of several races post-Tour to recover. Most of his training has been on a TT bike and he will go in without much racing under his belt. He will be a marked man, but with the team behind him, and the course ideally suited, he can make it back-to-back.
Gerro is a natural for the course plus he’s been there before. He’s taken more knocks than Joel Selwood lately and had a poor year, but is a one day specialist. Remember Cadel was in this same position coming into the Worlds last year too…
Renshaw now has a post-race career in the UFC, adding a crashing elbow to his lead-out headbutt. I’m sick of him being called the ‘best lead-out man in the world’, and was glad to see him recently saying in Cycle Sport Magazine, “I’d like to have some personal success, probably in the next two or three years, to win a lot more races myself”. But, do we really want a Ranga on the podium?
Early in the Tour, Hansen broke his collarbone and sternum then got back on to drive the bunch for most of the stage. Chuck Norris has named Adam Hansen the only guy who is harder than he is, and in the You Tube clip “Adam Hansen – Can We Blend it?”, the answer is No. He’ll deliver Cadel to the line nicely.
Rogers and O’Grady’s experience adds to their obvious roles of GC contender and Super Domestique/Dealer of Pain. Their contribution in the nightclubs post-race will also be invaluable for the younger guys on the team. Stuey’s legend is only increased by the unconfirmed story of an all-nighter he once pulled at Mt. Buller on the Sun Tour before knocking out a big stage back to Melbourne.
Porte has been wearing more pink recently than any real man should be, he’d wanna be careful doing that in Geelong. He’ll be well rested from the Giro because he didn’t look like he was getting much back from the podium girls. Geelong is like Tassie, so he should be right at home. He’s up for an ITT spot, so might give that a tilt if not selected.
The selectors don’t seem to think Matty Lloyd’s Giro KOM jersey is worth picking him for. After seeing the Giggling Whippet’s You Tube clip on the fight after a Tour stage, the either SBS or The Comedy Channel should be begging him to commentate on the race. Look out for his classic line, “He’s given ‘im a bit of this, a bit of the old Diamond Cutter..”
Goss, Cooke, Sutton and Davis are all sprinters and I reckon at least two of them will get cut. Matt Goss has had a great season, but has a singing career to fall back. Not sure if Davis is a good option with the bergs, and I can’t see Chris Sutton’s form being enough, unfortunately. Cookie could be worth picking on experience, and the fact the chicks love him so he’s good to hang around.
Hayman may be unlucky because we have enough domestiques. I think he needs to get out more, though. After thirteen seasons at Rabobank, he was sceptical about the move to Team Sky, with its big budget and support, Pinarello Dogma’s, rock star style launch with Jaguar team cars, super slick kit. – Yeh, ‘cos we’d all hate to be a Pro and live like a rock star too?..Hayman looks like a tax accountant who may also be a serial killer, he recently said to SBS Cycling Central about the Paris-Roubaix and Ghent Wevelgem, “they’re the races I live for. In the past few years I’ve had a serious relationship with those races”. Ohhkayy….
I want McEwen to start just for the sheer bogan factor of seeing him mono across the line. He shows tactical nous and great ticker, especially getting over the Tour’s bumpy stuff, but I am sceptical whether just getting over them is enough. Robbie asking team management if he qualifies for a senior’s discount at the post-race buffet is not a good sign though.
Sulzberger is a good obvious selection on the basis of his form this year, as is Haussler whose selection was worth the switch in citizenship. I just hope Barbie doesn’t blubber again if he wins…
So, it’s up to you guys now – who should be picked, and more importantly who will win?
PS. Trivia answer – Robbie
Notes from our sponsors on the Worlds:
I have two free entries to give away for Ride The Worlds Geelong (on October 3) The first person to comment requesting the free entries gets them!
RIDE Cycling Review will be releasing their Official Guide For The Worlds on September 6. Their Official TdF Guide is always top quality, so I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of this issue.
Park & Ride can be Booked online and will guarantee you a parking spot in Geelong.