Australian Tour de France ‘Team of the Century’

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Don Kirkham and Iddo ?Snowy? Munro becoming the first Australians to ride the Tour de France, Cycling Australia will announce a Tour ‘Team of the Century’. The team, to be revealed at the Jayco Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards in Melbourne on Friday 21 November, will consist of nine riders selected in designated roles. Fifty Australians have ridden the Tour since the pioneering debut of Kirkham and Munro in 1914. Sir Hubert Opperman followed in their tracks in 1928 and 1931, Russell Mockridge and John Beasley Snr formed part of a Luxembourg team in the 1950s and Don Allan flew the flag in the 1970s, before Phil Anderson laid the foundations for the current generation throughout the 1980s. The early part of this millennium has been the golden era of Australian cycling, with Robbie McEwen winning 12 stages and three green jerseys, and then Cadel Evans claiming the ultimate prize in 2011 wearing the yellow jersey into Paris. But it won?t simply be the best nine Australians to have ridden the Tour. The team will consist of:

  • Two riders for the general classification
  • Two key domestiques to support the general classification riders
  • One sprinter
  • Two leadout men for the sprinter
  • One all rounder
  • One team captain

Peter Bartels AO, the Chair of the selection committee, says the biggest challenge will be comparing generations. ?The style of racing from Opperman?s period to now is so different and there was far less opportunity for many of our pioneers,? Bartels said. ?It?s so hard to measure the quality of a rider like Russell Mockridge, who was arguably the best of his generation, but we sadly didn?t get to see his best. ?Unfortunately, with just nine spots on a Tour de France team, there?ll be world-class riders, who have done wonderful things for Australian cycling, who will miss out.? Riders who have ridden the Tour cannot be part of the selection committee, with the six-person panel consisting:

  • Peter Bartels AO, Commonwealth Games gold medalist 1962
  • Anna Wilson, two time winner of the UCI World Cup
  • John Trevorrow, three time Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner
  • Shayne Bannan, team manager Orica-GreenEDGE
  • Rupert Guinness, reported on more Tours de France?s than any other Australian journalist
  • Matthew Keenan, Tour de France commentator

?No doubt everyone will have an opinion on who should be in the team,? said Bartels. ?Hopefully it creates a lot of debate on bunch rides in the lead-up to the announcement.? Under Cycling Australia?s anti-doping stance, riders who have served a doping suspension or made a doping confession will not be eligible. Text via Cycling Australia media release

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