While all eyes were on Cadel Evans at the Tour de France, the other
Australian riders were toiling away for their respective teams with
mixed results, writes Matthew Keenan.
Saxo Bank's Stuart O'Grady will be important to his team in week two (Getty)
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 theAmstel Gold Race.
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.
best ride of the opening week was on stage three in the cross wind when
there was still enough left in the tank to deliver Cavendish to the
Michael Rogers, also of Columbia-HTC, has been the unluckiest of the Australian contingent.
hadn’t put a foot wrong but sadly fell victim to a crash in the rain on
the stage to Barcelona. The injuries sustained, along with his
impressive Girod’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 that 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 ten and thirteen 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, Lancaster's teammate, 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.
All in all a very mixed first phase for the Australians but look for better performances in week two.