• The Australian men before the start of the elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Getty)Source: Getty
With the recent retirements of several star performers, you can’t help but feel there is a shift taking place in Australian cycling.
By
Source:
Cycling Central
30 Nov 2016 - 12:38 PM  UPDATED 30 Nov 2016 - 1:24 PM

In the past week or so we’ve had send-offs for Graeme Brown, Matt Goss, the Sulzberger brothers Bernie and Wes, and now Jack Bobridge.

Add to that the list the short hiatus by Cameron Meyer as he reset his life and career pathway, and you have a developing picture of our future fortunes on the road and track.

Names we once hung our hopes on are being replaced by a new generation but we may have to wait a while for that talent to develop fully.

In fact, you can argue that Orica-BikeExchange itself is reflecting that short-term change of fortune with just 10 Australian riders on its roster in 2017, its lowest number ever, and future hopes clearly represented in Colombian Esteban Chaves and Englishmen Adam and Simon Yates.

It says much that the biggest win by an Australian in 2016 was produced by the 37-year-old Mat Hayman (Paris-Roubaix), a rider who is close to retirement himself, while we looked to the now retired Anna Meares to produce a medal on the track at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

There are still riders like Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis (both BMC) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb-Giant) to look forward to, and serious prospects in others like Caleb Ewan, Rob Power and Jack Haig and Damien Howson (all Orica-GreenEDGE), whose careers have yet to be fully realised.

Signs of immediate optimism do exist in a rider like Luke Durbridge, who but for a late race mechanical may have arrived in the Roubaix velodrome along with eventual winner Hayman.

There is another group of riders, largely workhorses, who may deliver a surprise success or two but that depends on the opportunities given to them by their teams. These include Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida), Rory Sutherland (Movistar) and Nathan Haas (Dimension Data).

Combine that with a generational lull on the track and regular broad-based Australian success like we’ve seen in the past may be in short supply for a while before we again experience an avalanche of victories and medals.

Bobridge ends his competitive career
Jack Bobridge has one of the biggest engines ever seen in Australian cycling but now the Perth resident has put the motor in idle after announcing his retirement.

Matt Goss: keen for what comes next
Matt Goss admits he knows little else outside of a cycling career he has just called time on but sounds like an eager job applicant when he talks about what’s next.

Graeme Brown: 'I always gave 100 per cent'
As he prepares to retire, Australian Graeme Brown has observed today’s professional peloton races with more abandon than the one he joined some 15 years ago.