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Posted on: 27th June 2017

The Politics of choice

A week out from the Tour and team Orica Scott has announced its team for this year’s Tour de France.

I don’t see Gerro too much these days, he has forged a career that has, to the end been surprising but his absence from the team suggests that all is not well at Orica Scott. Gerro is probably the highest paid rider on the team, negotiating a contract after his last significant win. Limited results in 2017 does not suggest limited form and without knowing internal details it would seem that his non selection is personal and he could well be left languishing until the end of his contract.

I have experienced the same myself, professional cycling at its worst, careers impacted by interpersonal relationships.

The pitch, strength and unity behind 2 team leaders will fail miserably and indeed the strongman qualities of the team is the only story that could be told in what is a single-minded strategy to field a GC contender team for the Tour de France by the moniker Aussie team in accordance with it’s 5 year plan. A team that is not ready.

Australian cycling media and Cycling Australia for that matter focus on the Orica Scott team. Lets not forget, we have another Australian backed pro-tour team in Drapac Cannondale and a Tour de France favourite in team BMC with Richie Porte. Additionally there are any number of other Australian riders in multiple commercial teams.

I doubt whether the nominated GC riders in Orica are up for the job. Esteban Chaves rode the Dauphine and while he was often close to the front, he hadn’t raced due to injury and I wouldn’t consider him a winner on form. Simon Yates is a huge talent in the mountains and has shown potential as a GC rider but is probably still a couple of years off grand tour GC potential.

Adjusting Orica’s team ambitions to include strategies for stage wins and positive media (to date they have been masters) should have been considered. Orica race management is now plowing headlong into the biggest race of the year dedicating 7 spots into getting two leaders to the finish with 2 captains to make decisions on the road!

Gerro lost favour with many fans when he didn’t assist Matthews at the 2015 World Champs and the Orica have since lost Matthews who is racing in Le Tour. Simon Gerrans  however possibly has the most experience to captain Orica at Le Tour de France 2017.

The pitch, Matt White to be blunt has not sold me. The Tour de France is the toughest race of all and demands the toughest decision makers.

I will be at home this year, the first time since at least the late 70’s watching Le Tour supporting the Aussies with my hopes and national pride pinned on Richie Porte, a great champion who is ready to win while other Aussies sprinkled in multiple teams will also seek to create their own destiny at le Tour de France.  We will all be watching Orica with renewed interest.

Written by Phil Anderson

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