Expectations Exceeded at the Tour de FranceSun 21 Jul 2013
The 100th edition of the Tour de France was a success for Australia’s first WorldTour team. In their second start of the Tour, ORICA-GreenEDGE hoped to achieve the stage victory that eluded them in their maiden season. By every measure, the team exceeded all expectations.
Simon Gerrans made history is Corsica, taking the team’s first stage win on the third day of racing. The momentum continued into stage four where ORICA-GreenEDGE took out the team time trial, beating Omega Pharma-Quick-Step by less than a second. It was enough to put Gerrans in yellow. The team’s camaraderie remained on display throughout the first week, punctuated by Gerrans cedeing the jersey to his teammate and good friend Daryl Impey. The South African became the first African leader of the Tour de France.
All nine of the ORICA-GreenEDGE riders who lined up in Porto-Vecchio for the Grand Départ rode into Paris today, including the team’s three Tour debutants: Simon Clarke, Cameron Meyer and Svein Tuft. Tuft began the three week race with the distinction of being the oldest first-time Tour starter. By race end he bore the title of lantern rouge. O’Grady started his 17th Tour de France, tying the record set by George Hincapie last year, and rolled into Paris for the 15th time.
The procession between Versailles and Paris included the usual pomp and circumstances to celebrate the three week battle. Cameron Meyer was in the first break attempt, a short-live four rider move, on the Champs Élysées. All escape attempts were neutralised before the lead-out trains came to fore. At the end of the tenth lap, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) sprinted to his fourth stage victory, edging out André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) for top honours.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) received his yellow jersey in the foreground of the yellow-lit Arc de Triomphe, standing on stage with Tour greats Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurian and Bernard Hinault. Froome was later joined on stage by Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar). The Solvakian won the green jersey for the points classification. The Colombian wore two jerseys, first the white jersey for the best young rider and then the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification winner.
Editor's Note: Reactions from the team coming soon. Stay tuned!