Saturday, 30 June 2012
For Michael Rogers and Richie Porte, business is business.
They have ridden with Cadel Evans on national cycling teams and are proud Australians, but for the next three weeks they are plotting his downfall at the Tour de France.
Rogers and Porte ride for the Sky team and will be key lieutenants in the mountains for No.1 favourite Brad Wiggins, who could become the first British rider to win the Tour.
"Everyone gets paid and everyone has to do their jobs," Rogers deadpanned when asked about the scenario.
"Certainly we (the Sky team) are really excited (about) the three weeks coming up.
"We feel we're in a really good position."
Porte said sentiment simply could not come into their thinking as Evans tries to win back-to-back titles.
"Cadel is a fighter and we know it's not going to be easy," Porte said.
"Him being an Aussie, you can't let that enter into your thinking.
"We're riding for Brad for three weeks and we've got a job to do."
Evans, Porte and Rogers are among a record 12 Australian starters in this year's Tour.
It is also the debut for Orica-GreenEDGE, the first Australian team to ride in the race.
The first goal for Orica-GreenEDGE is a stage win and sprinter Matt Goss will be their main hope.
But the Tour is stacked with sprint aces, such as British star Mark Cavendish, and Goss knows each flat stage will be a fierce battle.
"That's why we have such a strong team to lead out, because if you don't have the leadout, you're the one following, you're the one who's in more of the chaos," Goss said.
"I don't think there's ever been or will be a bunch sprint in the Tour that's not a little bit brutal."
Meanwhile, Heinrich Haussler will not be the 13th Australian in this Tour.
British team-mate David Millar has been sick and there was a chance that Haussler would take his place.
But Garmin-Sharp confirmed on Friday, a day before the Tour starts, that Millar will ride.