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Robbie McEwen (RadioShack)
Australian chasing fourth win in 'home race'
Three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen will be lining up at this weekend’s Noosa Grand Prix for what will be his last attendance at the event with the 39-year-old previously announcing he’ll be calling time on his riding career before July of next year.
"I’d say this will be the last one," said McEwen."The plan is that I’ll be hanging up the wheels midway through next season so this will be the last Noosa."
The announcement marks the end of a long association with the race for the Queensland native, having either raced at, or been an ambassador at the event for over a decade.
"It’s an event I always want to be involved in because the whole weekend is fantastic and the criterium itself is brilliant," said McEwen. "The crowd is massive and they just go wild.
"This is one of the very few opportunities I get to race in front of a home crowd. There’s not much racing in Queensland. The Brisbane crit isn’t on anymore, the Gold Coast crit isn’t on anymore, so Noosa’s my only chance to do a home race."
McEwen is a three time winner of the Noosa Grand Prix, but will be up against it in 2011 if he hopes to make it four, with a stacked field lining up alongside the Queenslander.
Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Jack Bobridge, Heinrich Haussler and Matt Wilson (Garmin-Cervelo), Chris Sutton, Matthew Hayman and Jeremy Hunt (Sky), Baden Cooke and David Tanner (Saxo Bank SunGard), Michael Mathews (Rabobank) as well as national criterium champion Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) will all be lining up in Noosa.
Despite the level of competition facing him, McEwen, who recently took two stages on the way to overall victory at the Circuit Franco-Belge, still hopes to finish his involvement with the race on top.
"There might be some guys coming out of the Sun Tour going a little better because I haven’t ridden since Paris-Tours," said McEwen. "I’ll maybe be a little underdone but I’ll give it my best shot anyway. Every time I get on the grid I try to win."