I've been thinking a lot about the Aussie men's elite team for the UCI World Championships and wondering exactly whose team it is.
Is it Cadel Evans' team, as so many seem to think? Or does it belong to Simon Gerrans?
Or will we see the team coalesce around another rider as the race develops?
Looking at recent results you'd have to think that Evans and Gerrans are the go to guys, with the rest riding in support.
After all Evans just grabbed a hard won podium spot at the Tour of Spain, while Gerrans pulled off another quality grand tour stage win in that same race.
But maybe we need to look at someone else.
The Aussie worlds road race squad is composed of Simon
Clarke, Allan Davis, the aforementioned Evans and Gerrans, Adam Hansen, Mathew Hayman, Matt Lloyd, Stuart O'Grady, Wesley Sulzberger and Mick Rogers. Of that ten, nine get a starters gurnsey.
assessing the team, my thoughts immediately turned to the result at the
2008 Beijing Olympics. The last time a similarly constructed squad rode
At the Beijing road race this is how the Aussie
finishers broke down behind Olympic Gold medalist, Spain's Samuel
Sanchez (Himself a clear threat to any riders ambitions).
First up was Michael Rogers in 6th at the same time as Sanchez, followed by Evans in 15th at 0:22, Matt Lloyd, 31st at 2:28, Simon Gerrans 37th at 2:28 and Stuart O'Grady who DNF'ed in the late stages of the race after putting a lot of hard work.
important to remember that Evans went into Beijing carrying a knee
injury that required treatment, something that is clearly not an issue
for him in Mendrisio.
But Michael Rogers was coming off a
horror two years where lack of form, recent racing and injury were his
The Beijing course (245km), after an
initial 80km of flat riding, settled into a 24km circuit with 520m of
climbing per lap (7 laps), whileMendriso (262.2 km) launches right into a 13.8km loop of 19 laps and a total of 4,655m in climbing.
So, the Olympic road race course, while arguably not at the degree of difficulty
as that of Mendrisio, was a seriously tough test - and I think a good guide.
And there our best performer was Mick Rogers, somehow the forgotten man in
all the talk about Evans, Gerrans and even 'Alby' Davis as our top
potential podium performers for Mendrisio.
course all of this is predicated on how the race plays out on the road,
Italy and Spain are the clear front runners, with Australia throwing
what has to be our best team ever back at them.
But this is a team that mirrors closely the one that rode in Beijing, and on that day, our best performer was Mick Rogers.