As the Giro starts to wind down, and the blog opportunities start to dry up, this might be the best chance to look ahead to the Tour de France and predict the Australians likely to be selected to make it to the start line in Brest on July 5.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Based on form this year, experience in Grand Tours and overall value and reliability, I've come to the conclusion nine Aussies are in the running.


BADEN COOKE

2008 should mark the return of Cookie.

The winner of the Tour's green jersey in 2003, Cooke had either fallen on hard times in the ensuing years or has simply been in the wrong team.

He's been in sizzling form for Barloworld this season and deserves another crack at the big time.



CADEL EVANS
Cadel travels to France with the weight of expectation on his shoulders and the chance to create more history.

This time he should have a team that is devoted entirely to his needs.

Here's hoping meticulous physical and mental preparation provides the tonic that gets him over the line.

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

SIMON GERRANS

Simon Gerrans agreed to sign with Credit Agricole on the proviso he races in the Tour.

He has suprisingly been keeping a low profile this year which tells me he too is revolving his build-up around the big race.
ADAM HANSEN

Known as the "Crocodile Man", Adam Hansen has pushed his way into Tour calculations on the strength of a solid showing in his first Giro.

He has been the most impressive Aussie in Italy these last few weeks and is Mark Cavendish's personal pick as the man he wants to lead-out for the sprints.

In the end it will be close as Hansen's inclusion in Team High Road may come down to a duel between he and Andre Greipel for the last spot.
TRENT LOWE
It's official Trent Lowe is "100 percent going to the Tour" according to Slipstream-Chipotle director Matt White.

Lowe is a former mountain bike champion who has served his apprenticeship on the pro-circuit for Discovery
Channel and now his new team.

His role will be to service the likes of Magnus Backstedt, David Zabriskie, David Millar and Christian Vande Velde through the high country.

You never know, he may even be in a position to challenge for GC himself if all else fails.
ROBBIE McEWEN
2008 will be a somewhat different experience for Robbie.

For the first time he won't be the centre of attention.

Racing for stage honours appears to be harder than ever for Australia's most recognised pro-cyclist judging by what we've seen in Italy this month.

Mark Cavendish and Daniele Bennati were the differences between Robbie winning and losing at the Giro - let's hope the tables are turned at the Tour.
STUART O'GRADY
Breaking a collarbone on the treacherous roads of Sicily may been a "lucky" break for Stuart O'Grady.

Had the fall come later in the three week race, it may have also spelled the end of his Tour ambitions.

Stuey will again feature in CSC's super team and as the twilight years approach, wouldn't it be nice to see the Freckle wear yellow once again - for old times sake.
MARK RENSHAW
Since winning a stage at the Tour Down Under and wearing the leader's jersey for a handful of days in January, consistency is paying of for Mark Renshaw.

He was responsible for guiding Credit Agricole's sprint king Thor Hushovd to a stage 1 victory at the Tour of Catalunya earlier this month.

There's no reason why he won't do the same in France this July for his debut Tour appearance.
MICHAEL ROGERS
It may be crunch time for the Dodger at the 2008 TdF.

A triple world champion who has promised so much, yet has failed to deliver at this level for a variety of reasons.

By returning to his Canberra home last month for medical treatment, it surely isn't the ideal preparation for High Road's team captain who is again expected to challenge for overall honours.

As always, I have my fingers crossed for Michael Rogers.
As for the Aussies likely to miss out for Tour selection:
BRAD McGEE - By crashing out of the Giro his Tour chances also nose-dived.
WILL WALKER - Spent several weeks nursing injury - not quite ready to step up.
GRAEME BROWN - Criticised by his own team director at the Giro - horribly out of form.
ALLAN DAVIS - Wrong team.
SCOTT DAVIS - Won't be able to break into High Road's preferred team.
CHRIS SUTTON - Too young and inexperienced.
NICK GATES - Is a regular of Silence-Lotto's "second team".
MATT GOSS - Too young to break into CSC's "world team".
AARON KEMPS - He's contracted with Astana - has not been invited to compete.