Cadel Evans headlines Australian Tour de France 'Team of the Century'
2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans is joined by the likes of Phil Anderson, Robbie McEwen and Simon Gerrans, but there's no place for Stuart O'Grady
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Cadel Evans and Phil Anderson head the nine riders selected by Cycling Australia as their Tour de France ‘Team of the Century’ at the Jayco Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards.
The team has been selected to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Don Kirkham and Iddo ‘Snowy’ Munro becoming the first Australians to ride the Tour.
With 17-time Tour starter Stuart O’Grady ineligible for selection due to his admission of doping during his career, pioneering cyclist Hubert Opperman is selected as the road captain.
Australia's Tour de France 'Team of the Century'
Evans became the first, and so far only, Australian cyclist to win the Tour de France in 2011. Evans, who will retire in 2015, overcame a 57 second deficit to leapfrog both Andy and Franck Schleck in the GC on the final time trial around Grenoble to take the win by 1’34 minutes. In nine consecutive Tours between 2005 and 2013, Evans claimed six top-10 finishes, including successive second-places in 2007 and 2008 while riding with the Lotto team.
In his first Tour in 1981, Anderson became the first non-European rider to wear the yellow jersey as he netted his first of five consecutive top-10 finishes. The following year Anderson won stage two and wore yellow for nine days and finished a career-high fifth overall – picking up the white jersey for his efforts. Born in London, Anderson moved to Melbourne as a child and finished his career with two Tour stage wins to go with a stellar Classics career.
Like Anderson, McGee also won two Tour stages in his 10-year career taking the prologue in 2003 – holding the yellow jersey for three stages – and stage seven in 2004. While riding for Francaise des Jeux, McGee became the first Australian to wear the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours when he donned the Vuelta’s golden jersey in 2005. On the track McGee won Team Pursuit gold at the Athens Olympics after winning three bronze medals in the 1996 and 2000 Games. After retiring in 2008, McGee spent three seasons as a directeur sportif at Saxo Bank-SunGard.
Despite having never won a Tour de France stage, Renshaw’s influence on the race is massive thanks to his partnership with Mark Cavendish. As lead-out man, Renshaw helped the Manx Missile to 14 Tour stage victories. This included three in 2010 before being disqualified on stage 11 for head-butting Garmin-Transitions’ leadout man Julian Dean and blocking Tyler Farrar’s sprint. Renshaw’s transition into the primary sprinter at Rabobank was a little unsuccessful and now finds himself reunited with Cavendish at Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
One of the best super-domestiques over the past few years, Porte has been instrumental in Team Sky’s two Tour de France victories. After riding for McGee at Saxo Bank, Porte transferred to Sky in 2012, helping Bradley Wiggins to the historic yellow jersey. A year later the Tasmanian was Chris Froome’s right-hand man as the Brit won Sky’s second successive Tour, finishing a career-high 19th himself. Porte admitted his 2014 season was not a successful one, as he struggled to compete with the leaders after Froome crashed out of the Tour.
Another of Wiggins’ teammates in 2012, Rogers has seen some success of his own in his ten Tour starts. A ninth-place finish in 2006 was his highest to date and 2014 saw the Barham-born 34-year-old pick up his first stage win on the mountain stage between Carcassonne and Bagneres-de-Luchon.
The team’s designated sprinter, McEwen has three points classification jerseys to his name. Known as a bit of a lone-wolf in the bunch sprints, McEwen often chose not to rely on a sprint train or leadout man, preferring to use his nous and tactical knowledge to drive him to 12 Tour stage wins. Green jerseys in 2002, 2004 and 2006 cemented his place as one of the Tour’s greatest sprinters and McEwen now coaches at Orica-GreenEDGE.
Coming under the tutelage of McEwen at Orica, Gerrans has proved himself to be one of the peloton’s leading puncheurs with Classics and Tour de France stage wins to his name. In 2013, Gerrans wore yellow in stages four and five having won consecutive stages to secure the lead. A crash with Cavendish in the finale of stage one of the 2014 Tour in Yorkshire denied Gerrans the shot at another win.
Sir Hubert Opperman (road captain)
In the absence of O’Grady, the road captain honour goes to the pioneering Hubert Opperman. Opperman competed in two Tours, in 1928 and 1931, finishing 18th and 12th respectively and became a prominent politician after his career ended. Opperman died aged 91 in 1996, having ridden a bike until the age of 90.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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