World Championships: Q&A with Simon Gerrans

At the tail end of a stop-start season marred by seven crashes, Simon Gerrans is one of two riders in the nine-rider Australian team who are rated as a contender for Sunday’s men’s elite road race championship at Richmond. The other is Michael Matthews, with the two sharing team leadership of the Australian team.

Gerrans has been forced to make comebacks from injury time and time again this season. His first crash came when mountain biking before the Australian road title and Tour Down Under in January. He crashed again during the Strade Bianche race in March, Liege-Bastogne-Liege -where he was the defending champion, and then again at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana. He has suffered broken collarbone (mountain biking), a fractured elbow (Strade Bianche) and fractured wrist (Tour de France) plus a myriad cuts, abrasions and bruises. Yet despite his setbacks Gerrans is ready to try and better his second place in last year’s race in Ponferrada, Spain. He is also confident Australia has the team to optimise its chances of clinching a win and the rainbow jersey - whether it is him or not.

Seven crashes

A last shot at the rainbow jersey

CN: At this stage of your career, do you feel urgency to win the world title?
SG: I’m not going to say it is my last chance, but it is pretty much my last shot at the rainbow jersey. As far as urgency, I wouldn’t really call it urgency to win, but it would a phenomenal achievement. When you look back and think some of the best bike riders in the world have never won a rainbow jersey, and some have won several.

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Rupert Guinness first wrote on cycling at the 1984 Victorian road titles in Australia from the finish line on a blustery and cold hilltop with a few dozen supporters. But since 1987, he has covered 26 Tours de France, as well as numerous editions of the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana, classics, world track and road titles and other races around the world, plus four Olympic Games (1992, 2000, 2008, 2012). He lived in Belgium and France from 1987 to 1995 writing for Winning Magazine and VeloNews, but now lives in Sydney as a sports writer for The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media) and contributor to Cyclingnews and select publications.

An author of 13 books, most of them on cycling, he can be seen in a Hawaiian shirt enjoying a drop of French rosé between competing in Ironman triathlons.