Robbie McEwen left out of Aussie team for Geelong World Champs

Katusha sprinter denied chance to cap career with tilt at rainbow jersey on home roads

by Simon_MacMichael   August 23, 2010  

Robbie McEwen (picture credit John O'Neill, Wikimedia Commons).jpg

Robbie McEwen’s hopes of capping a glittering career with victory in the World Road Race Championships in his native Australia have been brought to an end with the news that the country’s selectors have cut him from the team that will contest the race in Geelong, near Melbourne, in October, where compatriot Cadel Evans of BMC Racing will be defending his title.

The 38-year-old Katusha sprinter, who has won the Tour de France green jersey three times, and has 12 stage victories in that race to his name, and an identical number of stage wins in the Giro d’Italia, plus five Paris-Brussels titles amid dozens of other wins, was told yesterday by chairman of selectors Shayne Bannan that his name wasn’t on the final roster of nine, due to be announced tomorrow.

"I'm absolutely gutted and really, really disappointed," McEwen told The Australian newspaper, speaking from the Netherlands, where he is currently competing in the Eneco Tour, with his comments reported by AFP.

While many maintain that a sprinter will take victory in Geelong, with Mark Cavendish one of the favourites despite Great Britain only qualifying to take three riders to the race, a couple of nasty climbs inside the closing circuit, lapped 11 times, mean that outcome of the race is difficult to predict.

Nevertheless, McEwen insists he was up to the task. "The selectors felt that the road course between Melbourne and Geelong (in Victoria) was just too tough for me, but I don't agree,” he explained. "I've ridden over it and believe I could have been managed it and been competitive.”

McEwen continued: "Like everyone else I'm just shocked that I've been axed. I truly believe I've done enough here at the Eneco (Tour) to have warranted a start.”

The cyclist, a former BMX rider who spent most of his career with the Belgian Lotto team in its various guises before moving to Katusha last season, added: "At least Bannan was man enough to have told me to my face of me not being in the team."

Bannan gave no reason for McEwen’s exclusion, saying: "Out of respect for Robbie and what he's accomplished for Australian cycling, I'll give my reasons only after the team is officially announced on Tuesday."

Despite being one of the older riders in the peloton, McEwen remains competitive in the sprint despite not benefiting from the same level of dedicated support from team mates that some of his rivals enjoy.

He finished fifth in the points classification in last month’s Tour de France, and currently has a six-point lead over Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen in the sprints competition at the Eneco Tour, which finishes tomorrow.
 

5 user comments

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I can't believe they're passing over Robbie. He's done so much to raise the profile of cycling in Australia.

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kittyfondue's picture

posted by kittyfondue [56 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 14:40

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Neither can I. Since they have nine spots, they could have left him in the mix as a free agent if their main race plan doesn't include him. He's used to competing like that. Now they'll have to cross their fingers and hope that it doesn't come down to a sprint which Australia doesn't win!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1334 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 15:32

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Absolutely staggering, the guy has been winning races for us for donkeys years, he has been waiting for this race for an age and they leave him out. Must be time for the Aussies to get a ProTour team, they are as arrogant in cycling as they are in every other sport now. And I am a (very) disgruntled Aussie.

Bloody typical.

Bannon should remember who got the Aussies to the point that they could get 9 riders in the Worlds. That absolutely stinks. Crying

posted by roadiesean [69 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 17:16

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Robbie had the perfect comeback in his response to Bannon: they don't have nine riders better than me ... And they don't.

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kittyfondue's picture

posted by kittyfondue [56 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 20:11

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Cycling Australia announced the men's teams for the Worlds this morning:

Road Race

Baden COOKE (Benalla, VIC 10.12.1978 / Saxo Bank)
Allan DAVIS (Astana)
Cadel EVANS (Team BMC) 
Simon GERRANS (Team Sky)
Matthew GOSS (HTC-Columbia)
Mathew HAYMAN (Team Sky)
Stuart O'GRADY (Saxo Bank)
Michael ROGERS (HTC-Columbia)
Wesley SULZBERGER (Francaise des Jeux)

Time Trial

Richie PORTE (Saxo Bank)
Michael ROGERS (HTC-Columbia)

And PS, roadiesean - Fly V Australia is one of the teams that has applied for a ProTour licence for next year... not sure they'll get one this time round given there are 14 teams going for 8 places, but the ambition certainly seems to be there.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8023 posts]
24th August 2010 - 6:59

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