Smallest Aussie field since 2011 ready to rock le Tour

Australia will boast its smallest Tour de France representation in nearly a decade at this year's race - though like in 2011, there's a potential winner among our ranks.

While the 22-team, 176-rider peloton is still subject to change before Saturday's Grand Depart in Brussels, the Aussie contingent will almost certainly have shrunk from last year's 11.

But what it lacks in numbers, this group makes up for in quality and jersey and stage-winning ability.

Similarly to that 2011 race in which Cadel Evans became the first Aussie to win the world's biggest bike race, there might be a winner among this 2019 crop.

Cadel Evans sips some wine after becoming the first Australian Tour de France winner. Picture: AP
Cadel Evans sips some wine after becoming the first Australian Tour de France winner. Picture: AP

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) will fight for the yellow jersey, green jersey and stage wins respectively.

Ewan is among the favourites for Saturday night's Stage 1, which will finish in a furious bunch sprint in front of the Grand Palace in Brussels.

If he salutes, he will become only the eighth Australian to wear the prestigious yellow jersey.

It's unlikely, but don't rule the Tour debutant Ewan from making a nuisance of himself in the green jersey battle either, with Peter Sagan gunning for a record seventh points classification triumph.

 

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Elsewhere, Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) - who wore yellow after his time trial win in 2015 - will have his sights set on the Stage 13 race against the clock in Pau.

Veteran domestique Simon Clarke lines up for EF Education First to again help 2017 runner-up Rigoberto Uran

Then there's Australian-backed Mitchelton-Scott, who will be led by young British star Adam Yates, with help from Aussies Jack Haig, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn.

News Corp Australia

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