With the FIFA World Cup dominating world wide interest and the SBS television and online screens doing the same for the next four weeks, most viewers, including regular followers of cycling, have been gripped by the matches from Brazil.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

As we become familiar with the players from the 32 national teams, it got me thinking; what would a World Cup football team made up entirely of pro-cyclists look like if it took to the playing arena of the biggest sporting tournament on the planet?

Well, after gazing over the hundreds of riders who race over the roads on the UCI World Tour, the possibilities appear to be endless.

In fact, one could assemble two or perhaps three teams of riders who could (temporarily) swap their bike and lycra for numbered shirts and boots.

So after some thought (not too much) here is my international starting XI of cyclists who could possibly grace the fields in Brazil.

Whether or not they can kick a round ball for 90 minutes is besides the point has nothing to do with the following selections.

GOALKEEPER: ADAM HANSEN (AUS)

An obvious choice. You don't get to compete and complete seven Grand Tours in a row without forming a reputation as being the "hard man" of the peloton. Nothing gets past Hansen. He never says 'no' on the road so why would he on the football field if his job was to patrol the goalmouth?

SWEEPER: ALBERTO CONTADOR (ESP)

Although this position doesn't really exist in modern-day football, Bertie would have been perfect in the days when it was fashionable. Always calculating in the peloton and never afraid to move to the front and have a crack at goal when attacking, Contador sweeps like no other.

DEFENCE: BRADLEY WIGGINS (GBR)

Wiggo fills the role in central defence beautifully. He's the backbone of the back line. He hates to attack - you'd never find him mixing with defenders from opposition teams. His job is to wear out opposing strikers - and wear them into the ground. It doesn't matter if the final result is an uninspiring one-nil victory every time. Either way, the team would be devoid of a leaky defence.

DEFENCE: CHRIS FROOME (GBR)

A unit whatever the sport with Wiggo in it, must also include Froome - whatever the cost. Just as Wiggo was seen on his deputy's wheel during the majority of the 2012 Tour de France, there's no doubt he'll provide similar support and follow instructions in defence here. Yes I know times have changed since 2012 at Team Sky, but surely Froome would never betray his captain at such an important tournament - would he?



DEFENCE: CADEL EVANS (AUS)

The left back position would be perfect for Cadel. He too has a diesel-like engine and would patrol his territory like a German Shepherd does in the back yard. He's as loyal as they come - always marking and 'suffocating' the opposition to the point they'd have no room to move.



MIDFIELD: SIMON GERRANS (AUS)

He plays the role of general for Orica-GreenEDGE extremely well, so why not throw him in the pivotal central midfield position at the FIFA World Cup? Gerro is the Tim Cahill of Aussie cycling - always calling the shots and always using his head.


MIDFIELD: THOMAS VOECKLER (FRA)

Either on the left or right wings, you can be sure Thomas will do the job. The "Minister of Pulling Faces" may be none to happy with the position, and there's every chance he won't last the full 90 minute distance either, but one thing's for sure, Voeckler will provide plenty of entertainment.



MIDFIELD: MARK RENSHAW (AUS)

Every striker needs a lead-out man - a teammate who can supply intelligent assists when attacking and perfect crosses at crucial times of the game. Renshaw is the man for such moments. Put him on the opposite wing to Voeckler! He has speed to burn and will outsmart any opposition.



FORWARDS: PETER SAGAN (SVK)

The front line for the FIFA World Cup team for pro-cyclists would be lethal. Peter Sagan has the ability to pop-up anytime and anywhere. He's the perfect team man and can score at will. But one must be very careful during the post-goal celebrations as he has a roaming right hand.



FORWARDS: MARK CAVENDISH (GBR)

For the same reasons as Sagan (except for the right hand) Mark Cavendish would provide the flair and power required for being a top-notch striker. Cav is the Wayne Rooney of world cycling - brilliant, at his best but sometimes misunderstood by those who do not know him.



FORWARDS: MARCEL KITTEL (GER)

The central striker's role belongs to Marcel Kittel. He wears the number 10. He is the Cristiano Ronaldo of the team. He is the perfect pin-up boy, the chiseled facial features, the Hollywood looks and the perennial winner. Kittel is unrivalled.

TEAM COACH

Take your pick between Bjarne Riis, Patrick Lefevre or Jonathon Vaughters For me it's got to be Matt White - a good time is guaranteed at the team hotel - win, lose or draw.