Matthew Keenan

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Assessing the Aussies

13 July 2009 | 0:00 - By Matthew Keenan

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.

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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.

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 cross wind when there was still enough left in the tank to deliver Cavendish to the line.

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

Rogers 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.

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25 Jul 2009 8:43 AEST

Ted

From: Brisbane

Mark Renshaw

The stats of stage finishes has Renshaw coming in 14 minutes plus after Cavendish in Friday's race. But Renshaw, as usual, was the one who lead Cav into the final couple of hundred meters and then peels off. I watched the video of the finish and I could see Renshaw riding a few dozen meters behind Cav as he crossed the line. YET in the stage standings Renshaw is listed as finishing 14 mins behind Cav. That is obviously plainly wrong! Renshaw wouldn't have taken 14 minutes to ride the final half kilometre to the line!! How can anyone believe the stats when you can see errors like that?? Renshaw has been doing a fantastic job for Cav and his team and he isn't getting any of the glory he so plainly deserves, in my opinion.

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24 Jul 2009 12:45 AEST

peter

From: brisbane

Re: Sick of Phil Liggets drooling over L. Armstrong

i am sick of it!! thank goodness someone has said what many of us are thinking. i too was wondering if he was being paid commission for every time he mentioned astana and lance armstrong. vinacourov must have scared off the american successfully tho for him to not be in the astana team next year? hope the commentary is better in 2010 with more info on the australians in the tour or i am switching off sbs and watching a movie on another channel.

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20 Jul 2009 23:42 AEST

Susan Lanyon

From: Brisbane

Who is fighting with who

I missed hearing who lance armstrong was argueing with the other nite

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18 Jul 2009 21:36 AEST

Ricardo

From: Tasmania

Commentary

Matt, you're doing a fantastic job each night. Not an easy gig going solo but your commentary is outstanding. Keep up the good work!

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18 Jul 2009 20:09 AEST

Chloe

From: Melbourne

Matt Keenan

Can we have Matt commentating all the time instead of Phil

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18 Jul 2009 15:28 AEST

Ian

From: NSW

Sick of Phil Liggets drooling over L. Armstrong

Is anyone else sick and tired of Phil Liggett and his incessant drooling over Lance Armstrong? Every second comment out of his mouth contains a reference or a mention of the American. Is he on a commission for the number of times Armstrong gets a mention? Will someone Please reming him one A. Contador is the team captain of Astana. Armstrong is and should be regarded as a domistique. Nothing more. ASrmstrong signed on in this role, and someone should remind him of this.

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18 Jul 2009 12:26 AEST

E. Merckx

From: Melbourne

Cadel Evans

Is Cadel Evans the new Joop Zoetemelk?

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18 Jul 2009 9:19 AEST

Paul

From: Melbourne

re: Gerrans

Waif, Gerrans was dropped because of team politics. Apparently Sastre wanted more Spanish riders on the team, so Gerrans was left out in favour of some Spanish nobody.

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18 Jul 2009 6:29 AEST

Tanya Bosch

From: Bondi Sydney Australia

Heinrich Haussler

Congrats to Heinrich. He used to come down to Randwick Botany club to race occasionally from Inverell. He won the first U11 State Championships ever run in NSW at Heffron track Maroubra. I used to ride against him in D grade seniors! Even though he was too young he was allowed to race in the seniors

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17 Jul 2009 22:39 AEST

meriam

From: sydney

SBS quiz re Lance

The on-screen interview with Frank reminded me of the possible tactics the Schleck Bros might employ again this year. I shouldn't laugh but I wonder which one - Lance or Alberto - they'll try to box in and on that basis who will jump the knot and snatch the yellow jersey! It's been great racing so far and super pics too. Thanks SBS!

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About this Blog

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Matthew Keenan Matthew Keenan

 
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