Reigning road world champion Cadel Evans will spearhead Australia for this year’s event in Melbourne, officials said Tuesday, as veteran Robbie McEwen was left out.
Evans, who claimed the coveted rainbow jersey in Switzerland last year and briefly led July’s Tour de France before succumbing to injury, was included in a nine-man team along with 2009 Tour Down Under champion Allan Davis.
Team Sky’s Matthew Hayman and Simon Gerrans were also named alongside Saxo Bank riders Baden Cooke and Stuart O’Grady, HTC-Columbia’s Matthew Goss and former world time trial champion Michael Rogers, and Wesley Sulzberger of Francaise des Jeux.
McEwen, 38, earlier expressed his “shock” at missing out on the September 29 to October 3 event in Melbourne and Geelong, in southeastern Australia.
“I’m absolutely gutted and really, really disappointed,” McEwen told The Australian newspaper.
“The selectors felt that the road course between Melbourne and Geelong (in Victoria) was just too tough for me but I don’t agree.
“I’ve ridden over it and believe I could have been managed it and been competitive. “Like everyone else I’m just shocked that I’ve been axed. I truly believe I’ve done enough here at the Eneco (Tour) to have warranted a start.”
Cycling Australia also named a provisional women’s squad, with the final team to be announced on September 14.
Men’s elite road race: Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank), Allan Davis (Astana), Cadel Evans (Team BMC), Simon Gerrans (Team Sky), Matthew Goss (HTC-Columbia), Mathew Hayman (Team Sky), Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank), Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia), Wesley Sulzberger (Francaise des Jeux)
Men’s time trial: Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia)
Women’s squad (provisional): Ruth Corset, Tiffany Cromwell (Lotto Ladies Team), Shara Gillow, Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto Ladies Team), Amber Halliday, Chloe Hosking (HTC/Columbia), Emma Mackie, Rachel Neylan, Bridie O’Donnell, Alexis Rhodes, Carla Ryan (Cervelo Test Team), Amanda Spratt, Carlee Taylor, Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto Ladies Team).