Cannondale-Drapac's Simon Clarke has been named as the replacement rider in Australia's Rio Olympic Games road race after Simon Gerrans ruled himself out due to the broken collarbone he sustained at the Tour de France.
While Clarke has represented Australia at several world championships, including the 2009 Worlds when he helped Cadel Evans win the rainbow jersey, it will be his first appearance at an Olympic Games. The 30-year-old was one of the riders taken across to Rio last year to recon the challenging which his knowledge of the course to benefit the team which will also include BMC Racing duo Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte.
"Once again selections have not been easy given the high level of abilities across our reserve list," said road cycling head coach Brad McGee.
Clarke moved across to the Cannondale-Drapac team at the end of 2015 after four seasons with Orica-GreenEdge and was a key rider in Rigoberto Uran's bid for Giro d'Italia victory in May. He returned to racing at the Tour de Pologne last week, finishing 25th, after a break and will now head to the WorldTour Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian one-day event on July 30 before jetting out to Rio to meet up with the national team.
"In calling up Simon to replace Gerrans we look forward to utilising his previous experience and race craft abilities that were highly considered in the first round of selections."
"He has firsthand knowledge of the course and presents himself fit and ready to go. We have no doubt he will combine very well with the team and this will be essential on such a demanding parkour (sic)."