Cycling Australia's new High Performance director Brad McGee will have an abundance of talent at his disposal when selecting the elite men's team for the UCI Road World Championships.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

I cannot recall an era when there has been so many riders with climbing attributes.

It wasn't so long ago when European-based Australian roadies were known for their sprinting prowess only.

Aussies weren't seen as climbers and I can recall European colleagues scoffing at the thought of a mountain specialist ever emerging from Down Under.

They claimed Australia's flat terrain was not conducive to developing a cyclist of climbing ability - and they were probably right when taking into account Mt Kosciuszko's altitude of 2228 metres which pales into insignificance when compared to the gigantic peaks of France, Spain and Italy.

Cadel Evans, however, bucked the trend when competing in his first Grand Tour in 2002, and he has inspired a generation ever since.

What the Euros didn't take into account was that Aussie professionals with stars in their eyes were prepared to relocate in a bid to improve at the international level.

When former East German Heiko Salwedal was appointed head coach of the AIS road program in the early 1990s, his priority was to encourage developing riders to bite the bullet and pursuit careers overseas.

The likes of Robbie McEwen, Patrick Jonker, Henk Vogels, David McKenzie, Matt White and Nick Gates (to name a few) carved out successful careers, and to this day all are likely to thank Heiko for mapping out their career paths in the first instance.

Apart from Jonker (and with all due respect to coach and rider) none never really made a name for his climbing prowess.

How times have changed, and this is indicative of the riders who are in the running for world championship selection in 2013.

All are based in Europe as all are contracted to World Tour teams.

So for the risk of getting it all wrong, this is the nine-man Australian elite men's team I believe selects itself to tackle Tuscany on Sunday 29 September:

Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEGE)
Cadel Evans (BMC)
Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE)
Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol)
Mathew Hayman (Sky)
Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE)
Richie Porte (Sky)
Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff)
David Tanner (Belkin)

Who's in your nine for Florence?