Italian Daniele Bennati pipped Robbie McEwen and Mark Cavendish in Stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia. Leaving Mike Tomalaris to ask where the next generation of Aussie champions will come from.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Like most Australian cycling fans, I'm looking forward to the Tour de France in July and watching Cadel Evans do his stuff - after all as a race favourite, he is on the verge of creating history.

Australians have enjoyed a lot of success on the pro-circuit in the last 10 years, but I'm starting to wonder what will happen when the stocks start to dry up?

Podcast: video highlights of every stage of the 2008 Giro d'Italia

For more than a decade, we have been spoiled by the talents of Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Brad McGee, Baden Cooke and Michael Rogers - all of whom have provided the anticipation and thrill of success on world cycling's biggest stage.

Their achievements in Europe have been acknowledged by Australia's mainstream sporting public.

But as this current generation of Aussies enter their twilight years, are their suitable replacements emerging from the next generation?

There are many Australians currently plying their trade in various pro-teams - Simon Gerrans, Allan Davis, Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, William Walker, Mark Renshaw, Trent Lowe, Chris Sutton, Matt Hayman and Matt Lloyd quickly spring to mind.
Most of these names are either sprinters or domestiques for their respective teams.

While they are blessed with talents and skills of their own, I ask if they have the ability to step up to another level like their predecesors?
Only time will tell, but I sincerely hope so.
Davis is definitely one rider who has proven his worth in the past, but while he rases for a non-descript continental team, his time on the biggest arena is somewhat non-existant.
So you see, in terms of following potential regular winners the cupboard is looking quite bare.

The predicament in cycling is similar to tennis where Lleyton Hewitt has been flying the Australian flag solo for many years.

Although there are many rising tennis stars making good progress on the ATP circuit, there are doubts whether any is capable of reaching the number one ranking or better still win a Grand Slam title.

At 31 years of age, Evans' best years as a GC rider are still to come.
But will he be asked to carry the heavy hopes of a nation on his own once the McEwens and O'Gradys of Aussie cycling call it quits.
There's no reason why Evans can't dominate the roads of Europe for another five or six more years if he so desires.

For mine he is the world's unofficial top ranked cyclist, but who will we have to cheer once he decides to call it a day?