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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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The only two Australians who have won the Tour de France's green jersey, Robbie McEwen and Baden...
The only two Australians who have won the Tour de France's green jersey, Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke, will team up in the Madison at Revolution 4 in Melbourne on Wednesday, December 17.
At the 2003 Tour de France Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke went shoulder-to-shoulder down the Champs Elysées in battle for the green jersey of the best sprinter. McEwen wanted to defend his 2002 title and started the final stage in green. But Cooke pipped his rival in Paris to win the jersey by a mere two points.
Five years later the two will perform together as a team. McEwen has been riding the track once a week in preparation for the event. Cooke has instead been focusing on putting in the base miles ahead of joining a new team, Rock Racing, in 2009.
Cooke, a former Australian Madison champion, has some apprehension about his return to the track. "I'm a bit nervous, to be honest. It's been years since I've raced on the track," said Cooke. "They say you never forget how to ride a bike but flying around the boards doing handslings at more than 50 kilometres per hour isn't exactly a natural act."
Hopefully for Cooke, old habits die hard. "The Madison was one of my best disciplines on the track. It's a race where you need to be tactically good and you need to be able to muscle your way around the track and Robbie and I are among the best at doing that."
Among their main challengers will be Graeme Brown, an Olympic Games gold medalist in the Madison (in Athens). Brown, who has a reputation for being a little unpredictable, will ride with Cameron Meyer. "Hopefully Graeme is not too erratic. If he can ride a reasonably straight line that would be a positive," said Cooke. "We all know how to throw a hook but there's no need to put people's lives in danger."
Cooke is also well aware of the many rising stars of Australian cycling. "I've seen some of these young guys and they're fast as hell," said Cooke. "Some of these guys, like Leigh Howard, will be coming in with smoking hot form and they will be difficult to beat but we certainly won't be lying down. I won't be giving them any free runs."
The Revolution event that was held just prior to Christmas of 2007 was a sell-out and the same is expected of this year's edition.