Hey Nicholas, I've been reading the comments on this thread and did not want to react, but your careless talk has forced me to barge in here....
I was just saying the only south african cyclist iv heard of is Robbie Hunter. Mmind you Stuart O'grady leaves him in the dust
Just because you don't hear of them doesn't mean they're not there - let's elaborate a little more :
David George, a top SA pro got a Silver medal in the World TT Champs in 2000. He rode for the US Postal Team (heard of them ??) and in the Vini Caldirola Team (Italy) last season.
Ryan Cox, a young up and coming rider (23yrs) is currently riding in the Cologne Team (Germany) and finished in 65th place in the Elite Road Race at the World's last year.
Other SA riders who have been given contracts and are campaigning in Europe this season are Rudolph Wentzel (26), the only non-Belgian riding for the Vlaanderen-T Interim Team, and Darryn Lill (20).
The reason SA doesn't have too many riders in Europe at this stage is because of the Sport boycott in the 70's and 80's - this isolation meant the riders were not exposed to International competition and that put the sport back 20 years in this country.
Had it not been for that, you can be sure that numerous riders from this continent would have made a name in World Cycling. One such rider was Alan van Heerden, who rode against and beat non other than Sean Kelly in his early pro years on a few occasions. As for Aussie riders riding then, Phil Anderson (heard of him ?), Australia's best ever Classics rider, rode in the Peugeot team with Alan and he wasn't in the same class then (p.s. Phil did go on to some great achievements in his career).
As for Robbie Mc Ewen kicking dust... this is "Pantani Talk". Either rider deserves respect and both are different types of rider. Hunter is a hard man with the amazing ability to produce in the World's toughest single day events (Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Tours, etc.). McEwen is a rider who can stick it out in long stages and produce powerful sprints at the end.
Recently, in the Gent-Wevelgem where both riders participated, RH was 6th and RME was 25th - who was riding cobblestone dust into who's eyes then ?? :
In the UCI rankings, McEwen is currently ranked 32nd & and Hunter 59th. It must be noted though that the majority of McEwen's points were scored in Australia against majority Aussie competition at the beginning of the year. Hunter's points were scored in Europe and Asia against majority European competition. As for who's riding for the better team, we won't go there....
So let's just chill and hold the bashing back as you don't want to go creating a "mine-is-better-than-yours" attitude in this forum. That's not why we come here.