When it rains, it pours. And for now success is pouring down on Orica-GreenEdge, who captured an elusive first Tour de France stage win yesterday in Calvi and backed that up with another in today's team time trial in Nice. On top of that, team leader Simon Gerrans pulled on the yellow jersey, admitting soon after he did that, "It really doesn't get any better than this."
As he did the press rounds in the mixed zone behind the team time trial finish line on the swanky Promenade des Anglais, he found himself being named alongside Phil Anderson, Stuart O'Grady, Brad McGee, Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans, Australia's previous yellow jerseys. To be put alongside Anderson was particularly significant, as it was the first Aussie to wear yellow who introduced Gerrans to the sport and became his first coach.
"It's pretty special to follow in Phil's footsteps," said Gerrans. "It's hard to believe that I'm being compared to those names. They're legends of Australian cycling and to be mentioned alongside them is special too. It really doesn't get any better than this.
"Yesterday I was able to win on the back of some fantastic teamwork and today it was a real team effort to win again. And to take the yellow jersey was a massive bonus as well. I'm thrilled and couldn't be prouder of the team."
Gerrans admitted Orica wasn't among the favourites for the team time trial, but revealed that within the squad there was a strong feeling they could do very well. "We knew we had a very well balanced and strong team. We knew if everybody played their part then we were going to go very close.
"The plan was for our big, strong guys – Brett Lancaster, Svein Tuft, Stuart O'Grady, Cameron Meyer and Daryl Impey – to pull longer and stronger than the rest of us. It was up to the rest of us who are not as strong in time trials to keep the pace going."
The new race leader said it was sticking to this plan and the team's togetherness that enabled them to edge out Omega Pharma by less than a second. "I don't think there was one particular place on the course where we won. We just worked fantastically well together. We're such a close group of guys, such good friends, and I think that really showed in the team time trial. Everyone was really committed to it," Gerrans said.
The goal now, he said, will be to hang on to the yellow jersey for a couple of days and enjoy it.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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