Some of Australia's best racers gathered outside Perth for a charity event for the Henk Vogels Foundation, an organization founded in 2002 to support promising racers from Vogels' home region of Western Australia. Named for Henk Vogels Sr., a 1964 Olympian, the foundation beneficiaries include multiple Junior World Champions Josephine Tomic and Travis Meyer.
Tomic and Meyer each won three world titles at the recent 2007 Junior World Championships in Mexico, and Tomic also set a world record in the Individual Pursuit event. Tomic said she was "very grateful for the financial support to attend the event and the advice and mentoring I received from Henk senior."
Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen was on hand to auction off a 2007 Tour de France jersey which attracted a winning bid of over $6,000. McEwen talked about his experience in this year's Tour, recalling his miraculous win on stage one in Canterbury after having crashed with 20 kilometres to go. McEwen described getting "goose bumps" after seeing his team come back for him.
"Essentially the boys did a team time trial made even harder by the fact the some of the other teams had gone to the front after my fall to set the pace ready for the finish. It was an unbelievable effort from the guys and I had to hang on at 70km/h, but once they got me to the point where I was on the back of the pack I knew I had to go for it," said McEwen.
"I paid the penalty in later stages as the bursitis injury to my knee from the fall just got worse. But I was determined not to pull out of the Tour mid-stage as I think the images of defeat and the (velcro) sound of your number being ripped off are too humiliating and there were film crews trailing me ready to pounce just to get that shot. I didn't want to give them the satisfaction!"
For more information about the foundation, visit www.hvcf.com.au.