Aussie Focus

A Tour of 'firsts' for Aussie Hamilton

It’s a strange thing for a debutant to be going into the biggest race in the world as a leader with ambitions for the general classification, but for Australian Lucas Hamilton - he’s completed his apprenticeship and is ready to make an impact on the Tour de France.

Hamilton studied behind the Yates brothers and Esteban Chaves as they rode to top finishes in stage races and he’s beginning to make his own way in that regard - taking on the mantle of leadership at Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Volta a Catalunya, finishing in the top 10 of each race.

That consistent run was brought to an end at the Tour de Suisse, where gastroenteritis ended a very promising showing in the key lead-up race for the Tour de France.

The result is that the Ararat local has come in under the radar, but that’s not all bad for 25-year-old Hamilton in the biggest test of his career.

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“I’m not a big name,” Hamilton said.

“I’m not one of the favourites coming in. I’m just trying to do my own race.”



There's an aura about the Tour de France that isn't quite matched at other races, plenty of other events boast histories of similar length and prize money for the winners, but the French Grand Tour is consistently the race where everyone wants to go and beat the best.

“I’m pretty excited. I’ve done the Giro, but there’s a different feel about the Tour, especially as an Australian," Hamilton said.

"All my friends and family are aware of the race and it’s exciting to have their support behind me.

“As a kid growing up in Australia, I watched the Tour de France, even before I was into cycling.

". When guys like Cadel (Evans), Gerro (Simon Gerrans) or even Richie (Porte) were winning, it adds to that investment. To be here is pretty surreal and exciting.”



The circus of the Tour de France is getting into full swing, this interview is just one of many that Hamilton has faced in recent days, with the pageantry of the teams presentation just a taste of the carnival atmosphere that follows the biggest bike race in the world.

For Hamilton, it’s about keeping a focus on the process that has allowed him to perform so well in 2021.

“You’re always going to have some nerves, that’s normal,” he said.

“For me, it’s about keeping it business as usual, trying to go about it as normal and not get to too overwhelmed by it.

“At the end of the day, it’s my first Tour de France, it’s my first time riding as a leader in Grand Tour. That’s a lot of firsts, for me it’s gaining the experience of riding every day to the line.”



While Hamilton will lead the team, it’s not a case of all the ambitions of the squad hanging on his shoulders, with 2018 Vuelta a Espana winner Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves to chase stage wins in the mountains.

Meanwhile, , leaving few points in the race where the team won’t have something happening.

“We’ve got a super strong team here,” Hamilton said.

“The bigger boys, these first few days I’m going to rely on them. Most of it will be about positioning and holding the road, these guys are awesome at that.

“For me, it’s my first tour riding GC, I’ll be chipping away at it and holding my own. Esteban and Simon will be stage hunting and it will be good to have them deep into the mountains.“

Every moment of the 2021 Tour de France will be live, free and exclusive on SBS - with the ŠKODA Tour Tracker app, SBS TV and the SBS Cycling Central the places to catch all the pulsating action from June 26 to July 18.


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4 min read
Published 26 June 2021 at 12:51am
By Jamie Finch-Penninger