• Rory Sutherland at the 2018 Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
A 36-year-old Tour debutant? And a 26-year-old track world champion who's already completed four grand tours but not started a Tour de France before? The two Aussie debutants lining up for the Tour this year may be at different points in their careers, but both face the difficult task of protecting their team leaders for the next three weeks.
Cycling Central

13 Jul 2018 - 9:08 AM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2018 - 9:12 AM

Rory Sutherland, 36, UAE Emirates

At the age of 36 and in his 16th year as a pro cyclist, it's somewhat surprising Rory Sutherland has never started a Tour de France. He's completed the six grand Tours (4 Giros, 2 Vueltas) he's started, but a Tour de France was never on the cards despite his proven value as a tough domestique. 

Now with new team UAE Emirates, he's finally got the chance. 

"My job is to help (team leader) Dan (Martin) in all the kind of terrains to a point and also we've got Alex Kristoff whose reputation shows what he can do. 

"The Tour de France is something special every young Australian cyclist and most cyclists around the world look up to and want to do. It just took me a bit longer to get there than others."

Watch the feature on Rory Sutherland:

Michael Hepburn, 26, Mitchelton-Scott

A world champion on the track and a valued domestique on the road, Hepburn has completed the Giro d'Italia four times but like Sutherland, has not started a Tour. With expertise racing against the clock, Hepburn was a key selection for the stage 3 team time trial. Cycling Central caught up with him after some chaotic opening stages.

"Hectic first few days. Like nothing I've seen."

"A lot of of guys have told me the stories before hand but until you experience what it's like - the stress and the nerves it's hard to understand."

Watch the interview with Michael Hepburn:

How to watch the 2018 Tour de France on SBS
The 2018 Tour de France is here and SBS will bring you the racing, personalities, food, chateaux and colour of the event across all broadcast platforms.