Australian cyclists celebrate trio of victories
are celebrating a weekend of success with Queensland's Robbie McEwen
claiming the first stage of the Tour de France in England while at the
Schladming MTB World Cup round in Austria Sam Hill and Tracey Hannah
took out the men's and women's downhill finals.
McEwen's win stunned his rivals who had thought the 35 year old out of contention after he was caught up in a crash a little over 20 kilometres from the finish of the 203 kilometre stage from London to Canterbury. But the seasoned professional who is contesting his tenth Tour de France was brought back by his Pedictor-Lotto team mates who delivered him to the peloton four kilometres from the line.
"This is definitely one of the best ever but I can't believe I won this stage," said an elated McEwen after coming from more than ten riders back to motor past his rivals and secure his twelfth Tour de France stage victory. "After the crash I thought I'd broken my wrist and didn't think I had a chance but full credit to my team mates who brought me back.
"At the end I had nothing to lose and my anger and frustration gave me the energy."
Norway's Thor Hushovd was second and Belgium's Tom Boonen finished third.
McEwen's win equals
the record of Germany's Erik Zabel for the most stage wins by a rider
still competing. McEwen won the first of his twelve Tour de France
stages in 1999 on the Champs Élysées in Paris. In 2002 he won
the stages in Reims and Paris; 2004 in Namur and Guéret ; 2005 in
Montargis, Karlsruhe and Montpellierin and last year he won in
Esch-sur-Alzette, Saint-Quentin and Vitré.
While McEwen was
sprinting to victory on a slightly uphill finishing straight in England
mountain bikers Hill and Hannah were barelling full speed downhill in
Austria. It's the second victory in two weeks for reigning World
Champion Hill, 21, who won the previous round at Monte-Sainte-Anne in
The West Australia, who rides with the Iron Horse-Monster Energy team, clocked 3min51.44sec for the win, a clear five seconds faster than second placed Gee Atherton (GBR). Queensland's Nathan Rennie was eighth in 4min.00.27sec. Hill, now on 807 points, continues to lead the Downhill Nissan/UCI World Cup series ranking and is 168 points ahead of second ranked Steve Peat of Great Britain.
In the women's downhill final 2006 Junior World Champion, Queensland's Tracey Hannah, 19, upset her more experienced rivals to win in 4min41.50sec, ahead of 25 year old Frenchwoman and World Cup Series leader Sabrina Jonnier (4min43.06sec). The Australian teenager is now ranked fifth on the series standings.
Cycling Australia website www.cycling.org.au
information (media only) please contact:
Gennie Sheer, Sheer Rhetoric - Communications Director, Cycling Australia
Tel: +61 (0) 418 863 533