Australian success at this year's Tour de France has been one of quiet personal achievement, writes Mike Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

For the first time since 2000, Australian riders will walk away from a Tour de France empty-handed.

There will
be no stage wins, no final podium finishes and no wearing of green or yellow jerseys by riders
who have figured so prominently in this race for such a long time.

Not that it's been a disappointing Tour, and nor does it mean we're currently going through a lean cyclical period.

In
fact to the contrary, Australians have played a major role without
standing on the winner's podium for the three week duration.

Take the Australian connection in Team Columbia, for example.

Mark Cavendish has praised the incredible workload of Mark Renshaw and Mick Rogers as integral to his record stage haul.

And what
about the workload from 'Mr Reliable' Stuart O'Grady at the front of
the peloton for Saxo Bank? Particularly in the third week through the
Alps, in an effort to guide Andy Schleck to success.

Brett Lancaster has also done a graceful job for Cervelo's green jersey conquerer Thor Hushovd.

And there was the effort of Silence-Lotto's Matthew Lloyd as he rode his first Tour de France, all in support of Cadel Evans.

There
has already written a lot written and said about Australia's best
cyclist, Cadel Evans, but it's important to note that his toughness was
obvious despite any setbacks in this one race. He will be back.

And
let's not forget to acknowledge the directorship of Australian team bosses
Matt White and Allan Peiper for teams Garmin-Slipstream and Columbia-HTC respectively.

Of course, one
of the biggest thrills of the Tour was seeing the raw emotion expressed
by Heinrich Haussler when crossing the finish line as a winner into the
city of Colmar.

Sure, we have claimed the Aussie-born German
from Inverell, but he is technically a German in this race - thankfully
that will change from next year.

It's unfortunate that none of
these achievements and behind-the-scenes successes will be
considered for nomination by Australia's cycling authorities at the
end-of-year-awards.

So
while the trophy cabinet may be bare in
2009, the future remains bright with these performers and the likes of
up-and-coming junior stars such as
Cameron Meyer and Jack Borbridge - both now linked with pro-teams and
both destined to make their Tour de France debut sooner rather than
later.