Nine Australian’s were selected to enter the 21 stage, 3535 kilometre, 103rd Tour de France, now only 7 remain. Here’s how our boys are doing:
Richie Porte (BMC Racing)
Currently 7th place
5th Tour de France
New to BMC Racing, Porte is the only Australian General Classification (GC) rider. Previously riding for Team Sky, Porte has been instrumental to the success of Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, while also achieving a top 20 finish in the 2013 TDF.
Despite positioning himself perfectly for the win in Stage 2, Porte suffered a puncture (and a very slow wheel change) in the last 5km, eventually crossing the line down 1min 45sec behind his fellow GC riders.
Again disaster hit on Stage 12 where Porte was caught up in a pileup with ex-teammate Froome. Porte slammed fans as the reason for the crash, stating: “The crowd was all over the road and the motorbike just stopped right in front of us and we had nowhere to go but straight… it was a mess”.
Although Froome and Porte were both given the same time as Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) who was also caught up in the crash but managed to be first away, Porte was bumped down to 11th place (however has managed to claw his way back during consecutive stages).
Currently sitting at 4min and 27sec behind race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky), Porte is ambitious about taking time back in the Alps, stating: “The Alps will be a huge chance to take time back and fight for the podium – the best I am rested, the best I can be.I think I have the form to do it. I know I am not the only rider believing that a podium finish in Paris is still a possibility”.
Porte has been selected to make his debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics, competing in both the time trial and road race events.
Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal)
Currently 99th place
7th Tour de France
Known as ‘Mr Grand Tour’ and one of the best domestique’s, Hansen already has 7 TDF rides under his belt, 5 of which were consecutive. Perhaps even more impressive is this will be his 15th Grand Tour in a row, dating back to the 2011 Vuelta a Espana.
Although at the 2016 Tour de France, Lotto Soudal’s main goal is to grab a stage win with German champion Andre Greipel, Hansen has already proved himself to be instrumental in the lead out and as a domestique, counting one of his skills to be grabbing and stowing away 11 bottles for his teammates in just under 30 seconds.
Luke Durbridge (Orica BikeExchange)
Currently 101st place
13th place for Young Rider classification
3rd Tour de France
‘Turbo Durbo’ played an instrumental role in teammate Michael Matthew’s Stage 10 win and remains another loyal domestique for OBE.
Michael Matthews (Orica BikeExchange)
Currently 117th place
6th place for Points classification
2nd Tour de France
With memories of his high speed crash in last years TDF which left him with four broken ribs, Matthews had almost given up on the TDF, but that was before his win at Stage 10.
With three Vuelta and two Giro d’Italia stage wins to his name, the Aussie managed to outsprint world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) after 197km from Escaldes-Engordany. Matthews sighted the work of his fellow teammates, Luke Durbridge and South African Daryl Impey for his success. “It was never the plan to go for a breakaway today,” Matthews said, “We wanted a bunch sprint finish but we’re such a strong group of guys. Durbridge and Impey gave me everything to win today. I have no words to describe what they did for me.
The win was made even sweeter after Matthews narrowly missed a disastrous crash in the final kilometres of Stage 2, escaping with only minor injuries. Matthews’ win was Orica BikeExchange’s second TDF stage win by an individual, and the first since Simon Gerrans in 2013.
Mat Hayman (Orica BikeExchange)
Currently 128th place
2nd Tour de France
After an incredible win at Paris-Roubaix, Hayman will be on support duty, playing domestique for Orica BikeExchange as well as captaining the team at key parts of the race.
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing)
Currently 138th place
3rd Tour de France (2 stage wins)
With the title of reigning Australian time trial champion still under his belt, Dennis achieved two stage wins at last years TDF, one being the Stage 1 time trial, where he clocked in an average speed of 55.446 kph and became the Tour’s first wearer of the yellow jersey.
Fast-forward to 2016 where the national champion admitted to feeling very tired and fatigued coming into the first of two time trials. Dennis achieved a time of 51:56 with an average speed of 43.32kph to finish fifth for the stage, 1min 41sec behind stage winner Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).
Dennis has been selected to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics where he will compete in both the road race and time trial event. Rio will be Dennis’ second Olympics behind the 2012 London Games where his team placed second in the track team pursuit.
Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling)
Currently 181st place
Debut Tour de France
Despite this year’s TDF being his debut, Howard is already well known for his three-time world champion status in track and is speculated to have set a new speed record for the TDF, clocking in more than 122km/h chasing back onto the peloton after a double flat.
Howard also was the first to initiate an attack back in Stage 1 at Mount-Saint-Michel, however missed out on his primary objective of the KOM.
Simon Gerrans (Orica BikeExchange)
DNS Stage 13
11th Tour de France (3 stage wins)
Taking the title of ‘Most TDF’s for an Australian’ Gerrans experience played an instrumental role for his fledgling TDF teammates. Gerrans 2016 TDF was cut short for the third time in three years from a broken collarbone following a crash at Stage 12. Despite his injury, Gerrans once again proved himself by finishing the stage up Mount Ventoux, crossing the line a mere 28 minutes behind stage winner, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).
Due to this injury, Gerrans Recently has opted to withdraw from the 2016 Rio Olympics, stating that he would be unable to achieve the best possible result for Australia and he would be better replaced by one of his fellow teammates.
Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data)
Withdrawn Stage 9
7th Tour de France
Known as the ‘ying’ to team mate Mark Cavendish’s ‘yang’, leadout specialist , Renshaw played a key role to team mate Cavendish’s success with his three stage victories so far in the 2016 TDF. However, Renshaw became only the second rider to withdraw from the TDF, behind Katusha rider: Dane Michael Morkov who withdrew in Stage 8 due to crash injuries occurring earlier in the week.
After beginning one of the toughest stages, featuring five significant climbs in the Pyrenees, Renshaw called it, sighting illness as reason for his withdrawal.