In a new feature, the Cyclingnews team pick their rider of the day from the Criterium du Dauphine. Mitch Docker is the first rider to be chosen, and we will be selecting a rider after each stage.
He finished 172nd on the stage and claimed just a solitary point in the king of the mountains competition, but Mitch Docker (Orica-GreenEdge) is our rider of the day on stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphine.
The 29-year-old Australian is using the Dauphine as his comeback race having crashed out of Paris-Roubaix in an utterly appalling fall in the Arenberg Forest. There’s footage of the crash floating around the net, if you wish, but suffice to say that his injuries included a broken cheekbone, a broken nose and broken teeth. Facial surgery of course followed but Docker is thankfully back on his bike and raring to get stuck in.
The Dauphine was meant to be a comeback race after a long rehab but no more than a few kilometres into the opening stage Docker jumped clear with another rider to form the break of the day.
He spent close to 150 kilometres off the front before eventually sitting up with 20 kilometres remaining.
"I was riding along in the peloton in the neutral zone and everyone was asking me about the crash and I was like, 'can I do a whole day like this?' And I was like, 'nah' I just wanted to get out there, I just want to ride, so the best option for me was to go in the break, find my legs and ride it out I guess. I didn't want to talk about it any more. It was really nice of everyone to want to know about it but I just wanted to race," Docker told us at the finish.
"It was just nice to get out there and go for the KOMs, and stuff. But it was a hard day for sure, especially where I am at the moment. I'm really going to pay for it today and tomorrow. I enjoyed just being out there and seeing all the boys."
"I've got it out of my system and I'll be more than happy to be in the peloton tomorrow."
Daniel Benson says: I spotted Docker at the sign-on but I was bothering around another rider with what probably seemed liked inane questions at the time, and before I could reach Docker he had disappeared. He laughed off his ride today when he spoke to Pro Cycling’s Sam Dansie at the finish, but on a day dominated by head-butts and drama it was enjoyable to watch a rider simply go out there and do his job without fuss. In an age of clickbait this, and clickbait that, Docker reminded us that at the end of the day we've a peloton which for the most part is full of riders who just love to ride their bikes.