By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, South Australia
Australia's Mark Renshaw (Team Columbia) is delighted to have the opportunity to race against Lance Armstrong on home soil, as the American makes his return this week.
"It means so much, I never though I would ever get a chance to race Lance," he said. "Just the hype, how real it is to be in a race with such professionals out there it is just unbelievable."
As a Tour Down Under stage winner from 2008, Renshaw is one of the most popular young Australians in the field. The New South Welshman's supporters were seen wearing "Lance with a chance, but Renshaw for sure" t-shirts at yesterday's criterium.
The rider is enjoying his first race with Columbia this week, having joined the outfit from the now defunct Crédit Agricole. Renshaw is expected to be one of the team's main lead-out riders this season, with the outfit carrying big-named sprinters like André Greipel and Mark Cavendish.
"It was great to have your first pro race at Tour Down Under in your home country, great fans and a lot of people who know me in the crowd, so that is really good and I am just so excited to be racing with my team for the first time," he said. "I have good legs at the moment, a couple of stages suite me so I plan to have a crack there and in some of the other stages I will try to help the rest of my team."
Renshaw led out Columbian teammate Andre Greipel in the Cancer Council Classic last night, but the defending champion could only manage fourth position.