2014 Tour De France

2014 Tour De France

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From day one the Tour de France has been a serious money-spinner. And while revenue streams from newspaper sales, broadcast rights and advertising spend has not always flowed through to the riders, there’s no denying the Grand Boucle is big business. The modern peloton is a high-speed billboard laden with sponsors logos and features the latest must-have products from cycling’s best frame, component and clothing manufacturers. But beneath the marketing veneer of teams, which source riders based more on form and ability than geographical origins, and the sponsorship dollars of multinational corporations, beats a deeply patriotic heart.

While BMC is a US-based team sponsored by a Swiss bicycle manufacturer, Australians embraced its distinctive black and red race kit as if it were green and gold when, back in 2011, Cadel Evans made history as the first Australian to win the Tour.

Fortunately, we now have our own team to support in Orica-GreenEdge. And, as it proved at last year’s Tour with two stage wins, it’s a team we can get excited about. It was certainly one of the more visible teams thanks in no small part to inflatable guitars and one blundering bus driver.

Orica-GreenEdge, however, is not the final word on Australian involvement at the Tour as there are a number of local riders who will be playing key roles in other teams. It’s interesting to note that 11 Australians rode at last year’s Tour. While we fielded significantly fewer riders than France (42) and Spain (27) we had the fifth-most riders from any nation to take part in the event. An impressive achievement when you consider both the US and UK fielded just six riders a-piece.

This year we can look forward to watching Richie Porte carrying out domestique duties for pre-race favourite Chris Froome in the the hugely impressive Team Sky. And who knows, perhaps if something happens to Froome, he may be given the chance to ride for the maillot jaune.

Another talented Australian who is taking part in the Tour as a support rider is Mark Renshaw. As lead-out rider for Mark Cavendish and Omega Pharma–Quick-Step, he will no doubt be highly visible in the sprints.

Keep an eye out also for triple World Time Trial champion Michael Rogers who, having escaped suspension following a positive test for clenbuterol, will be lining up for Tinkoff Saxo. A win on stage 11 of this year’s Giro d’Italia announced Rogers’ arrival back on the professional cycling stage following a provisional suspension.

Whether you’re a keen supporter of Orica-GreenEdge or you have a favourite riding for another team, there’s no denying as we embark on the 101st edition of the Tour de France, it’s a great time to be a supporter of Australian cycling.

Frequency 1 Issue per year
Genre Outdoor Sports
Weight (kg) No

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