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Omega Pharma QuickStep rider ends 10-year hiatus with national team
It has been a decade since Mark Renshaw last pulled on cycling kit for Australia but on Sunday, the Omega Pharma QuickStep rider will end an international hiatus dating back to the 2004 Olympics when he competes in the Commonwealth Games road race in Glasgow.
Renshaw's last appearance for Australia came on the velodrome in the 2004 Athens Olympics when he raced in the Points Race. Since then he has raced for numerous WorldTour teams and had success wherever he has been, either as an out-and-out sprinter or a leadout man.
"After such a long time away I'm very proud to have been selected to ride for Australia and wear the national kit. The Commonwealth Games are huge in Australia and if I can pull off a result I think that there will be a lot of happy people at home," he told Cyclingnews.
"Everyone is really excited and I'm looking forward to pulling on the national kit. As you can imagine the Games are a lot bigger back home than they are in Monaco. Once I get to the athletes' village, pick up the clothing and soak up some of the atmosphere, I think I'll be pretty excited too."
Australia will be looking to defend the men's road race title that they won four years ago in Delhi with Allan Davis and Renshaw believes that he has been selected due to both his experience and capabilities on the road.
Former professional Bradley McGee is the national selector and the pair know each other well, having both been based in Monaco. McGee also helped Renshaw find his feet in the amateur ranks in France and the pair rode together at FDJ.
"I think maybe the selectors can see that I have a lot of experience. I don't have the same engine as some of the leaders in Australia but with my experience it makes a big difference," he said.
For a time it looked as though Renshaw would never race for the national team again after Athens. He was overlooked on several occasions including the sprint-friendly world championships in Copenhagen.
"That's a touchy point and it made no sense," Renshaw said.
"I went from winning stages with Mark Cavendish at the Tour of Britain one week before the Worlds and I wasn't selected. At the time they picked [Matt] Goss but they didn't think that I was up to the challenge. I don't know, they must have had a few thoughts but it certainly hurt to not get selected.
"Now though, I think Australia with Bradley McGee, who isn't associated with a pro team, has great knowledge of cycling and that change has probably helped."
Renshaw heads into the Commonwealth Games on the back of the Tour de France. He finished the race in Paris last Sunday and believes that he is in the form to make an impact in Sunday's road race.
"I've come out of the Tour better than I have from any other grand tour I've ridden. I wasn't sick and I didn't have any massive crashes. I had a few opportunities and I was pretty happy with my performance."