The Breakaway

The big wheel ... Cadel Evans (L) leads the BMC team to the finish line.

Cadel Evans with his BMC teammates during last year's Tour. Photo: AFP

Contrary to many Tour de France team leaders, Cadel Evans says he has little input into who his line-up will be - and he prefers it that way. Speaking to the Herald on Monday, the day before his BMC team announced its nine-man selection for the Tour that starts in Liege, Belgium on Saturday week, Evans said: "I try and take a step back from selecting a Tour team ... I'm not exactly experienced at selecting Tour de France teams. And I have a much closer and personal relationship with the riders [than the selectors] and in this case there are two or three riders who really deserve to be at the Tour that aren't going to be there. It's not something I want to say to them, but it's part of being a selector. It's not my responsibility so I don't take part in it."

Evans also conceded that being the bearer of such bad news to teammate could compromise how they gel with him in the back end of this season after the Olympic Games and world titles in the Netherlands. "I don't want to tell someone who is a good friend and who I'll be asking a lot of in maybe the Tour of Colorado or Tour of Lombardy which maybe the next time that we race next together," he said.

BMC's Tour team: Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Steve Cummings (GB), Cadel Evans (Aus), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), George Hincapie (US), Amaël Moinard (Fra), Manuel Quinziato (It), Michael Schär (Swtz), Tejay van Garderen (US). Res: Brent Bookwalter (US), Steve Morabito (Swtz).

One that got away

Should Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France year, a number of Australians will be lauded for their roles in his success - teammates Michael Rogers and Richie Porte and sports director Shane Sutton. But the Australian most likely to receive the biggest plaudit will be Tim Kerrison. The 40-year-old from Queensland, is a former rowing coach who missed out on the Australian Institute of Sport rowing head coaching job. He was not short of ability. The Toowong Rowing Club member coached the Australian men's lightweight quad scull crew to a gold medal in the 2002 Nations Cup regatta - the under 23 world titles. British Swimming then snapped him up, before he became the Sky team's performance analyst. As Rogers told www.ridemedia.com.au this week: “I've seen a five to seven per cent increase in my general threshold power. And that's great. It's also come from working with Tim Kerrison of Team Sky, as Bradley has – and as have most of the guys in the Tour team … we've all been training under his guidance and he's bringing some fresh thoughts into it for all of us. There's a bit of variation and a lot of the techniques have come from his background in swimming. And so far it's been working well.”

Aussie Tour records set to the tumble?

This year's Tour de France is could see a record 12 or 13 Australians take part on latest count. With Cadel Evans (BMC) defending the title he won last year, the Tour peloton could also include - pending final selections in the next days - Michael Rogers and Richie Porte (Sky), Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Stuart O'Grady, Brett Lancaster, Baden Cooke and/or Allan Davis (Orica-GreenEDGE), Mark Renshaw (Rabobank), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Bellisol), Matt Lloyd (Lampre-ISD) and Luke Roberts (Saxo Bank). But wait, there's more ... The start by Orica-GreenEDGE will be the first by an Australian team in the Tour. And here's one to keep Aussie fans cheering - with Evans out for back-to-back yellow jerseys and Goss gunning for the green jersey as winner of the points competition, Lloyd's planned tilt for the red and white polka dot jersey as King of the Mountains could provide an unprecedented podium picture come the finish in Paris on July 22.

Okay ... we are "dreamin"' you say. But not that long ago, the thought of an Aussie Tour winner seemed a dream - and that of an Aussie team racing in the Tour, even more so when you think back to 1914 when Don Kirkham and Iddo 'Snowy' Munro were the first Australians to race it, inspiring Sir Hubert Opperman in 1928 (18th) and 1931 (12th). If you fancy, here's a look back at the 1931 Tour. Apologies ... this one's a silent movie.

New frontier for Aussie series

Most attention in Australian cycling is focused on Europe in the build-up to the Tour de France and the Olympic Games. But today marks a significant day in the development of the Australian domestic racing scene with the start of the inaugural Santos North Western Tour in Narrabri, NSW. It is a five stage race for men's and women's teams and is part of the Subaru National Road Series. Towns to be included with Narrabri are Coonabarabran, Gunnedah and Tamworth. For more information on the NW Tour go to either the Cycling NSW website (www.nsw.cycling.org.au), or the NRS site (www.nationalroadseries.subaru.com.au)

They said it:

“If I could get in one of those breakaways that go right to the final, even if there seems to be less and less of those, then I think I can have a good chance to win a stage,” - Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) to VeloNews.com happily giving away his Tour de France tactics.