Cycling Australia will announce the honorary Tour de France team later this month to mark 100 years since the first Australian Tour riders.
Nine of the top Australian Tour de France cyclists will be selected as part of a Cycling Australia honorary team to celebrate the first Tour riders from the country.
So far, 50 Australian cyclists have ridden Le Tour since Don Kirkham and Iddo ‘Snowy’ Munro became the first to take it on 100 years ago.
The ‘Team of the Century’ will be announced by Cycling Australia at the Jayco Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards in Melbourne on Friday November 21.
Nine riders will be selected for specific roles including:
- Two riders for the GC
- Two key domestiques to support the GC riders
- One sprinter
- Two leadout men for the sprinter
- One all rounder
- One team captain
Chair of the selection committee Peter Bartels AO said the biggest challenge will be comparing generations.
“Unfortunately, with just nine spots on a Tour de France team, there’ll be world-class riders, who have done wonderful things for Australian cycling, who will miss out,” Bartels said.
“The style of racing from Opperman’s period to now is so different and there was far less opportunity for many of our pioneers.
“It’s so hard to measure the quality of a rider like Russell Mockridge, who was arguably the best of his generation, but we sadly didn’t get to see his best.”
Riders such as Phil Anderson, the first non-European to wear the yellow jersey, Robbie McEwen, who won three green jerseys at the race and Cadel Evans, the only Australian to win the Tour de France, have been tipped as certainties to be in the team.
Cycling Australia have said any riders who have served a doping suspension or made a doping confession will not be eligible under their anti-doping stance.
Orica-GreenEDGE team manager Shayne Bannan and two-time UCI Road World Cup winner Anna Wilson have been included in the six-person selection committee that will make the decision.