There's a breed of rider that builds their career on the service of others. This has been the case thus far for Australian Mark Renshaw. But as the disappointment of one of cycling's oldest teams ceasing to exist has begun to sink in for the peloton, it has provided him with an outstanding opportunity and the chance to display the extent of his talents, as Cyclingnews' Les Clarke finds out.
George Hincapie is an enduring American favourite thanks to his support of Lance Armstrong throughout the Texan's seven Tour de France titles, while Milram's Marco Velo has seen 12 years of service as a professional workhorse for sprinters such as Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi. He's often credited by the latter for delivering his man to the line and as such is in demand come contract negotiation time.
Velo has been national time trial champion in the past, as has Hincapie, and both have enjoyed the odd win here and there. It's their ability to work tirelessly and effectively for a star however, that has made them such popular riders. In Australia, Mark Renshaw has enjoyed similar popularity due to his work ethic and tenacious sprinting, both of which were formed as a junior track rider from Bathurst, on the central tablelands of New South Wales, and honed in the Grand Tours of Europe.
At this year's Tour de France Renshaw was lead-out man for Thor Hushovd, a role inherited from Julian Dean, the New Zealander who has found his home at Garmin Chipotle. Just like Dean, several aspects of riding for a French team didn't suit this antipodean and he finds himself settling into a new squad in 2009 – Team Columbia.
"Once Crédit announced they didn't have a sponsor, I had to start looking around because [Roger] Legeay had basically over a year to find one; if he hadn't found one in a year I doubt he was going to find one in a month," said Renshaw. "I started looking around, made a few calls... I know Allan Peiper pretty well from the last few years racing, so I gave him a quick call and those guys were confident Ciolek was leaving.
"Allan's seen me race a lot over the years, so we set up some meetings and it was one of the more preferable teams to go to. It's just the way they've dominated this year... they've got over 80 victories so far. To go to a team with that environment is really going to rub off on me; thus far I'm a guy who can win a few races a year, and if I go to a team like that I can't see why I can't win 10 races a year."
Read the full interview here.