The Graduate steps up to the Giro
Mark Renshaw is another Aussie young gun quickly establishing himself as a quality rider capable of mixing it with the best of the pros after recent strong performances. This weekend the 22-year-old from Bathurst, in country New South Wales, lines up in Reggio Calabria for the Giro d'Italia. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke caught up with Renshaw on the eve of his first Grand Tour.
2005 is the year for the graduate to step up, and his ninth place finish in this year's Tour Down Under, plus a host of strong results in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the Three Days of De Panne and Tirreno-Adriatico have led to Renshaw riding as part of Francaise des Jeux's Giro d'Italia squad.
After a strong ride in South Australia in January, it became clear that Renshaw would most likely be a part of Marc Madiot's plans for an assault on the Giro d'Italia in May. Just what role the young New South Welshman would play depended on his fitness and form leading into the event. Both of these have been great, and as a result Renshaw told us "My role with the team for the Giro will be to give it 100% during the short prologue; after this I'll just try my hand at a stage finish whilst helping Baden out in the finish of most stages." This indicates that he's ready to go the distance, and with Cooke due for some big results, Renshaw's got a fair bit of responsibility resting on his shoulders.
In terms of personal goals, he believes a "top ten in the Prologue and top three in a road stage would be great." As it's his first Grand Tour, he says "Just to get the three weeks of racing finished would be excellent!" This is similar to the approach taken by fellow Aussie pro Brad McGee - both have come from an endurance track racing background, and as such make strong prologue riders. Renshaw has developed very quickly into a rider able to mix it up over one day or a week, but he's not yet been tested over three weeks. So we asked him whether he believes he has the legs to get through this - "I'm hoping I have the base to get through and try in a few stages for a place; I'm sure it'll be hard but I believe I can finish."
Click here for the full interview