It’s the eve of the 2022 Tour de France. The team presentation is done and there will be nine Australians in this year’s race.


– TDF Preview by Rob Arnold


Of the nine Australians that are on the start list for the 109th Tour de France, four have been nominated as leaders of their respective teams; two of them are GC specialists (Ben O’Connor and Jack Haig), while two others (Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews) have won multiple stages in the past.

The record number of Australian TDF starters is 12, that was in the 2012 race, a year after Cadel Evans became the first Australian Tour champion.

In 2022, the Australian starters are (in alphabetical order):

  • Simon Clarke (VIC) Israel-Premier Tech
  • Luke Durbridge (WA) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
  • Caleb Ewan (NSW) Lotto Soudal
  • Jack Haig (VIC) Bahrain-Victorious
  • Chris Hamilton (VIC) Team DSM
  • Michael Matthews (ACT) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
  • Ben O’Connor (WA) AG2R Citroën Team
  • Nick Schultz (QLD) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
  • Michael Storer (WA) Groupama-FDJ

Of the nine, three will be making their TDF debut on 1 July 2022 when the race gets underway with a time trial on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark. The debutants are Chris Hamilton, Nick Schultz and 2021 King of the Mountains from the Vuelta a España, Michael Storer.

Four of the Australians have previous won at least one stage at the Tour de France: Caleb Ewan, Michael Matthews, last year’s fourth-place finisher Ben O’Connor, and Simon Clarke, who was part of the Orica-GreenEdge team that set the fastest average speed for a team time trial on the day of the TTT stage victory in Nice in 2013.

The first Australian Giro d’Italia champion, Jai Hindley (who won the Italian race in May this year) will not be contesting the Tour de France in 2022 but his Bora-Hansgrohe team has nominated him as a likely starter for the late-season Vuelta a España.



– For more, see pre-Tour interviews with Ben O’Connor and Jack Haig on RIDE Media’s YouTube Channel –


GC contenders: O’Connor and Haig

Ben O’Connor got his first taste of the Tour de France in 2021 and although things started badly in the race during his first season with the French AG2R Citroën Team, with a crash in the opening stage, he recovered well, won stage nine and eventually finished fourth overall.

O’Connor has recently finished on the podium of the Critérium du Dauphiné, a traditional warm-up race in France in advance of the Tour. He was third on GC behind the Jumbo-Visma pair Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vinegaard.

Vincent Lavenu and Ben O’Connor at AG2R Citroën Team’s pre-Tour press conference. (Photos: Charly Lopez, via ASO)

“Since last year, Ben O’Connor has shown us the extent of his qualities,” said AG2R Citroën GM, Vincent Lavenu, when the team announced its line-up on 23 June.

“With him, we will focus on the best possible general classification, without setting a specific objective. We are certain that his sporting level, which he proved with his final podium at the Critérium du Dauphiné, can bring us real satisfaction.”

Another team that has confidence in having an Australian as a protected GC rider is Bahrain-Victorious who has nominated Jack Haig as one of the two leaders, alongside Italy’s Damiano Caruso.

Haig finished third in the Vuelta of 2021 and, like O’Connor, he’s been steadily building form as the TDF approaches. “Last year I went into the race with a lot of pressure on myself and to prove to my new team that I could perform,” said Haig when his selection was confirmed last week.

“This year I feel much more comfortable in the team alongside the group of riders we have going into the Tour, so I’ve not got much to be nervous about.”

Haig also crashed early in the 2021 Tour, sustaining a fractured collarbone which forced him to retire during stage three. That accident yielded his first major injury in his career and although he only had a few weeks back on the bike to prepare for the Vuelta, he proved his pedigree by finishing on the podium of the Spanish Grand Tour last September.

Michael Matthews is set for his seventh start in the Tour de France. He won the green jersey in 2017 and was second in the points classification last year. (Photo: Zac Williams)

Sprinting and leading out for stage wins

Michael Matthews is the only rider on the list of nine Australian starters to have previously won a TDF prize jersey. In 2017, he became the third Aussie to claim the green jersey as winner of the Tour’s points classification. The 31-year-old returns to the Tour in 2022 as the nominated leader of the Australian-registered Team BikeExchange-Jayco.

Matthews will get a chance to chase personal glory on some hilly stages, but he will also play a role in the lead-out for his team’s designated sprint specialist Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen.

Caleb Ewan, the winner of five stages in his first two starts in the TDF, will be the leader of his Lotto Soudal team. (Photo: Zac Williams)

Caleb Ewan is another rider who crashed out early in last year’s Tour. The winner of five stages in the two previous editions will be well supported by his Lotto Soudal team as he hunts for more sprint stage victories.

“With Caleb Ewan we have one of the fastest riders of the peloton,” said the Belgian team’s CEO, John Lelangue. “He is our biggest chance on a stage win and therefore we have made sure he is well surrounded with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer.”

In his first season with the Groupama-FDJ team, Michael Storer will make his TDF debut. The 25-year-old won two stages and the polka-dot jersey at the Vuelta a España of 2021. (Photo: Sprint Agencies, via Tour of the Alps)

Climbers with history…

Two of the nine Australians in this year’s Tour have previously won the polka-dot jersey as the best climber at the Vuelta a España, Simon Clarke (2012) and Michael Storer (2021).

Clarke is a seasoned campaigner who will start the TDF for a seventh time. At 35, he has loads of experience which will be an asset for the Israel-Premier Tech team that also boasts four-time Tour champion Chris Froome. In recent years, Clarke has relished the role of ‘road captain’, effectively becoming something of an in-peloton directeur sportif, calling tactics while being in the thick of the action.

Storer, meanwhile, will put personal ambitions aside as he lines up with the team that boasts the sentimental favourite of most French fans, Thibaut Pinot. The enigmatic Frenchman returns to the Tour for the first time since 2019 when he was well poised for another place on the GC podium until an injury knocked him out of the race only days before the finish.

It’s a new team for Storer in 2022 but he has been part of the Pinot program for much of the season and Groupama-FDJ has a lot of faith in the 25-year-old quiet achiever. Expect to see much more of Storer in the coming weeks as he is likely to be one of the last riders remaining in the lead peloton when the roads get steep and the bunch is steadily whittled down because of the gradient.


* * * * *


It’s almost race day. The Grand Départ is only hours away with a Friday start and three days in Denmark before a ‘transfer day’ for the peloton and race entourage to make the journey to France. The scene is set, the start list firming up and although there is still a risk of some last-minute changes – largely because of COVID testing in advance of the Tour – it’s shaping up to be an intriguing contest.

The nine Australians are all sure to have a strong presence in Le Tour 2022. Some are leaders, others are workers, but all are capable riders who we’re sure to see a lot of in the coming three weeks.


– By Rob Arnold