The UCI Road Cycling World Championships are finally here but you
wouldn't know about it if you're a keen follower of Australia's elite
Under the instructions of Shayne Bannan, Australia's
High Performance Manager, the men have been bunked down and kept in
cotton wool in Canberra, away from prying eyes from fans, family and
Bannan says facilities at the AIS are distinctly better
than those Geelong may have to offer in the weeks and days before
Sunday's big showdown.
He also claims the weather in the nation's
capital is a vast improvement from the Arctic conditions currently
being experienced in the host city.
Both are very valid points
I'm sure and who am I to dispute the wisdom of Australian cycling's head
But as the country's cycling fraternity makes a bee-line
to the world titles, I would have thought promoting the sport's
greatest assets by basing them in Geelong days before the start of the
championships would have been priority.
As it turns out all
members of the team (apart from time-trialist Michael Rogers and Cadel
Evans, who headlines a Gala dinner in Melbourne on Thursday night),
won't be arriving until late Friday.
Will that be enough time to
acclimatise, familiarise and gather valuable information from other
squad members who would have completed commitments on what is
essentially on a foreign course?
The nine-man Aussies who will
challenge for the rainbow jersey is perhaps the best combination of
riders ever assembled on our shores.
This being the case wouldn't
you think the best way to promote this so-called "Dream Team" would be
to make it accessible to the throng of international media that is
currently in Geelong?
What an advertisement for Australian
cycling it would be in a week when headlines (predictable) have been
hogged by the AFL Grand Final replay.
Evans, Gerrans, Davis,
Rogers, O'Grady and Cooke are now all household names on the Aussie
sporting landscape, yet those who have religiously followed their every
move during the big European races screened on television mostly in the
early hours of the morning may also miss out on the opportunity.
is the centre of the cycling universe this week, but it seems Cycling
Australia are happy to keep their array of stars in another stratosphere
for the time being.