Regardless of whether Australia’s Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) capitalises on his position as favourite at the Giro d’Italia, the race is already a historic edition for the nation. Australia will have 14 riders across 10 different teams lining up in Amsterdam for this year’s race, more than have contested any one previous edition in the event’s 100 year history.
The record entry means that nearly one third of the 45 Australians to have ever contested the Giro will be involved in this year’s race. That includes four debutants at Italy’s Grand Tour: Cameron Wurf, Jack Bobridge, Luke Roberts and Richie Porte.
Evans, taking part in just his second Giro having debuted in 2002, will wear the Giro’s maglia rosa for the second time if he takes the three week race’s lead at any point this month. He is one of just four riders to wear the prestigious jersey, with Evans, Brett Lancaster and Robbie McEwen having worn the jersey for one stage each while Bradley McGee held it for two stages during his career.
McEwen has won significantly more stages at the Giro than any other Australian rider and has the opportunity to add to that when he returns with Katusha this year. McEwen has won 12 Giro stages during a career that can only be described as highly decorated, and he’s determined to show that despite a lengthy recovery from injury he can still compete with the world’s top sprinters.
"I'm purely going there to win a stage and if I can win one stage then that would be awesome, considering where I've come from last year with the injuries,” McEwen told Cyclingnews earlier this week. “I've started slowly but surely to find my legs again and build up strength through the first part of the season."
While McEwen tries to improve his impressive stage victory record, should any other Australian win a stage this year it would boost the number of stage winning riders beyond eight. Despite his time in the maglia rosa, Evans didn’t win a Giro stage during his one and only appearance in the race, while the other seven stage winners – Phil Anderson, Simon Gerrans, Brett Lancaster, Bradley McGee, David Mckenzie, Alan Peiper and Michael Wilson – are all either retired or not competing in this year’s edition.
Australians competing at the 2010 Giro d’Italia: Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Wurf (Androni Giocattoli), Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Transitions), Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Mathew Hayman (Team Sky), Chris Sutton (Team Sky), Matthew Harley Goss (HTC-Columbia), Adam Hansen (HTC-Columbia), Robbie McEwen (Katusha), Luke Roberts (Team Milram), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank) and Richie Porte (Saxo Bank).