In terms of Australian participation The Tour of California goes one
better that the record number seen in the 2010 Giro d'Italia with 15
riders from Down Under lining up for the May 16th event.
one rider stands out as a solid pre-race favourite, a few others will be
in the hunt for stage wins.
For the rest, their well know
capabilities as strong support men for team leaders will see them
quietly plying their trade away from the limelight of a podium place.
Australia is represented in the ToC by one team, Fly V Australia,
making up a third of that number - I'll deal with them as a separate
Michael Rogers and Mark Renshaw (Team
A strong pre-race favourite, Rogers has been in
serious form for the entire season with a win in the Vuelta a
Andalucia. As the clear General Classification leader for HTC-Columbia
the Australian can expect full support in the mountains and will be
expected to perform to his already high standards in the time-trial. He
will be difficult to beat.
Mark Renshaw will again be performing
his loyal duties as leadout man for the the best sprinter in pro
cycling, Mark Cavendish, look for him to be at the front of the peloton
in the last 500 metres.
Matthew Wilson (Team
Wilson is back in the Euro peloton with
Garmin but with his long experience racing in the US with Team Type 1
it's no surprise to see this climbing specialist racing in California
instead of the Giro d'Italia. Looking at Garmin's roster, with no clear
team leader for the general classification, Wilson is likely to have a
free hand to pursue his ambitions when the road starts trending upwards.
O'Grady (Team Saxo Bank)
The veteran O'Grady will again be
bringing his leadership skills to an amazingly strong Saxo Bank squad.
He will be expected to perform a mix of tasks for both Andy Schleck and
Fabian Cancellara. Look for O'Grady at the front driving the peloton in
the mountains and on the sprints.
Heinrich Haussler and Brett
Lancaster (Cervelo TestTeam).
Returning from an injury
that spoiled his classics chances, Haussler's form is unknown after his
long break, and he is using the ToC as a way to build his form, however
this Australian who races under a German licence could surprise when
the racing gets hard. Given a lifeline with Cervelo and with his road
career back on track after a year in the wilderness, Lancaster can be
expected to put his formidable time trialling skills to work for
Cervelo's nominated sprinter Theo Bos.
William Dicknson (Team
Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda)
This 27 year old from South
Australia is an all rounder and is expected to perform a domestiques
role for his Jelly Belly team.
Karl Menzies and Rory
Sutherland (Team UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis ).
on the American racing circuit Menzies and Sutherland are two solid all
rounder who know California well. Of the two Sutherland can be expected
to challenge the powerful international squads for a stage win at some
Team Fly V Australia.
Team Fly V Australia
heads into the Tour of California as the top team on the American
National Racing Calender with more than 30 wins under their belts in
2010. While containing three strong internationals in Phil Zajicek
(USA), Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) and Charles Dionne (CAN) it is the
Australians that will be looking to make their mark in the race.
sprinter Jonathan Cantwell will be expected to be in the mix on the
flat stage stages while Ben Day, who finished 8th overall in 2009, will
be looking to record another top ten place. Day and Cantwell will be
ably supported by three other Australians, Jai Crawford, Aaron Kemps and