Luke Durbridge wins at the Tour Down Under 2021

Luke Durbridge wins at the Tour Down Under 2021. Credit: Tour Down Under/Twitter

The Australian Olympic Cycling Team has undergone more changes due to injury, as Luke Durbridge comes in to replace the injured Jack Haig at Tokyo 2020.

The Australian Cycling Team has undergone a reshuffle just over a week out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as crashes and other factors have wreaked havoc on the selected riders.

Jack Haig became the latest member of the team originally selected to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 for the road cycling team. Haig crashed on the third stage of the Tour de France and fractured his collarbone and suffered a concussion.

Haig underwent surgery in a bid to recover fast enough for the Olympics, but Haig announced on his Instagram on Monday that he would not be fit for the Olympics.

On Thursday, it was announced that five-time national champion Luke Durbridge will replace Jack Haig.

Durbridge is currently riding the 2020 Tour de France and is battling through a difficult third week. Two of his teammates in the Olympics, in Richie Porte, and his professional teammate Lucas Hamilton.

Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman made a statement as part of the announcement that Durbridge had joined the team.

“Today’s selection is a great achievement for a rider who has competed at an elite level for more than a decade,” Chesterman said.

“With five national championships from 2012 to 2020 and fantastic results across the glove, Luke has shown he will be a strong addition to the road cycling team.

“Injuries are a cruel part of sport and I want to wish Jack all the best in his recovery, I know Luke and the rest of the cycling team will represent Australia with pride.”

Haig was the second athlete of the week to withdraw after Cameron Meyer withdrew in early July.

Meyer withdrew to remain home with his father, who is battling Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Meyer felt that between the travel restrictions, his family health concerns and the pressure of performing at the Olympics, he would be unable to be at his best in the race.

Last week, it was announced that Hamilton would replace Cameron Meyer on the team, only for Hamilton, the next night, to crash in the Tour de France and abandon the race.

Hamilton has since confirmed that he still intends to race at the Olympics, and is confident in his recovery.

Simon Jones, Australian Cycling Team’s Performance Director lauded the team that has been selected.

“As ever, the selection was made difficult by the depth of talent available in the Australian men’s road ranks, and the withdrawal of Cameron Meyer for personal reasons and Jack Haig for medical reasons,” Jones said.

“We wish Cam and Jack all the very best, and we hope every rider in the Tour has a safe and successful passage through the remaining stages.”

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The women’s team has fared slightly better. After Sarah Gigante‘s crash in April, she is on the mend and is expected to be fit for Tokyo 2020.

Olympic Teammates Amanda Spratt abandoned the Giro Donne ahead of the final stage, after a hard crash earlier in the week. Grace Brown crashed on the day before, and also failed to finish the race.

Both riders are intending to ride the Olympics, along with Gigante and Tiffany Cromwell.

The Men’s Road Race is on 24 July, with the Women’s Road Race on 25 July.

Rohan Dennis, Durbridge, Brown and Gigante will compete at the time trial as well, on 28 July.

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