Aussies winning, what’s going off out

Orica-GreenEDGE bus
Orica-GreenEDGE bus wedged under the finish gantry on the first stage of the 2013 Tour de France.

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Wasn’t this meant to be the summer of Australian humiliation? The cricket team in the Ashes, the rugby team against the Lions all while various others were beaten in various other arenas.

Well the cricket team initially kept up their end of the bargain. Then even with the help of some inept antipodean refereeing they lost the first Lions test, though they were close to winning.

But then had a change of heart the cricket team decided they’d prefer to try and win so dumped their coach and got in an adopted Yorkshireman to turn things round. And the Aussie rugby captain somehow managed to win his citing case, much to everyone’s surprise. The second test even though this time the Lions could have nicked it went their way in a somewhat convincing manner, again more inept officiating did give them a helping hand.

Then the Aussies decided to sabotage British sporting endeavour in what originally looked like something that would come under the banner of Aussie sporting humiliation.

The first stage of the 100th Tour de France, taking place on the island of Napoleon’s birth, Corsica, was meant to provide a win and therefore the yellow jersey for the greatest sprinter in the sport’s history. A Brit. Mark Cavendish.

Australians had a different idea.

As their Orica-GreenEdge team bus rumbled up the finishing straight and into the finishing line gantry wedging it stuck in place Cav’s chances of his first every yellow jersey were dashed. First the organisers said the finish would be at the 3km to go mark – a spot picked because it had a photo finish camera but which was far from ideal as a bunch sprint winning line, what with a nasty chicane to reckon with at speeds these guys finish stages at. Then with the bus moved they changed their minds and the finish back to where it was originally. All in the space of a few kilometres from the actual finishing line.

It’s no wonder amongst the confusion that a crash ensued, no surprise that Cav was caught up in it. And no surprise that the eventual winner, Marcel Kittel, knew nothing about the changes.

Then when the race moved from it’s first visit to the island – which surely had a huge tourist boost with some stunning shots of glorious clear, bright blue water lapping at golden sands – it was the team time trial and it was meant to be the day David Millar took over yellow. His first since the very first Tour stage of his career.

But Orica had another idea as the just pipped Cavendish’s OPQS team by less than a second, while Millar’s Garmin could only come in sixth, so the Australian Simon Gerrans, who had won the days previous stage took the team’s first ever yellow jersey. After a fruitless debut tour last year they’ve now got two stage wins on the trot and their first race leader.

This summer just isn’t going right at all.

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