Cycling Australia has published the final list of riders who will contest the men’s events at the forthcoming World Championships in Melbourne, and following yesterday’s news that Katusha’s Robbie McEwen had been omitted, a number of other big names have failed to make the squad for the men’s road race, including HTC-Columbia’s Mark Renshaw and Cervélo TestTeam’s Heinrich Haussler, who has withdrawn through injury.
The other three cyclists whose names figured in the original squad of 14 but who do not figure in the final nine are Renshaw’s HTC-Columbia team mate Adam Hansen, Team Sky’s Chris Sutton, and Richie Porte of Team Saxo Bank, winner of the young rider’s classification at the Giro d’Italia in May. Porte will race in the individual time trial, however, where he will be joined by HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rogers.
The nine riders selected to represent the Cyclones – like all Aussie sports teams, the country’s cyclists get their own nickname – in the road race which covers a course from Melbourne to nearby Geelong are headed by reigning world champion Cadel Evans of BMC Racing.
The other riders include the Team Sky pairing of Simon Gerrans and Matthew Hayman, Michael Rogers and Matthew Goss of HTC-Columbia, and Team Saxo Bank’s Stuart O’Grady and Baden Cooke. Astana’s Allan Davis and Wesley Sulzberger of FDJ make up the nine.
According to the Herald Sun newspaper, Cooke, Davis and Goss will focus on contesting any eventual sprint, although with a couple of tricky climbs on the 11-lap finishing circuit in Geelong, it’s far from certain that the race will end with a bunch finish.
Meanwhile, Rogers and Sulzberger are said to have been earmarked for a supporting role, with O'Grady, Gerrans and Evans likely to be protected by their team mates.
Cervélo TestTeam confirmed this morning that Haussler, who missed last month’s Tour de France after aggravating an old knee injury following a crash with HTC-Columbia’s Mark Cavendish in June’s Tour of Switzerland, had been forced to miss the World Championships.
Haussler announced in July that in future he would represent Australia, the country of his birth, rather than his parents’ native Germany, but despite an operation in June, he has acknowledged that he won’t be ready to compete in the World Championships.
"If I were to go to the start line at the World Championships, I would want to be 100% in shape and able to ride for the victory. This will unfortunately not be possible for me," he explained. "It would have been a dream to start on home soil but I am not ready yet. My main focus is now already on next season, where I want to perform well again in my favourite spring classic races."
Although there is no suggestion that Renshaw has been cut from the squad as a result of the presence in the race of his HTC-Columbia team mate Mark Cavendish, the omission of his close friend, widely acknowledged as the best leadout man in the business, will be something of a blow to the Manxman.
Cavendish, who will have just two other British team mates for company in the race, is already likely to have to rely on jumping from wheel to wheel of opposing racers to try and gain victory should the race end up with a bunch sprint, but the list of potential unwitting leadout men won't now include Renshaw, controversially disqualified from the Tour de France last month for headbutting Garmin-Transitions' Julian Dean and cutting up Tyler Farrar.
The 262.7km men’s road race takes place on Sunday 3 October, with the 45.8km individual time trial taking place on Thursday 30 September. The championships, held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first ever time also include men’s under 23 and women’s elite categories in both events, and full details can be found on the Melbourne 2010 website.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.