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What a difference a week makes. The winner of the under-23 Tour of Flanders, James Whelan, is now nursing a broken bone and other injuries. Here’s a quick update on the Australian Cycling Team’s European campaign…

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A little over a week ago, there were three Australians in the top 10 of the under-23 Tour of Flanders: James Whelan as the second Aussie champion of the race in Belgium, Rob Stannard in third place, and Cyrus Monk ranked 10th. The next race on the schedule was the ZLM Tour in the Netherlands. After the conquests of the one-day Classic, they had reason to be buoyed with optimism.

Fast-forward a few days and they are now waiting for a plane at Brussels airport, nursing a few wounds and some broken morale.

Cyrus Monk described the difference of one race to the next as: “Going from Belgian chocolate to Dutch boiled lollies.” What’s that equate to? Well, essentially from a dominant ride to wounded pride.

The full report is expected to filter through from the Australian Cycling Team in the next few days but, in summary, we can report that James Whelan crashed and broke his wrist. He also sustained a nasty injury on his knee that required 12 stitches.

Rob Stannard ended up denoted in the rankings with a DNF.

Meanwhile, the best of the Aussies was Cyrus Monk who “dodged eight crashes in the last 10km of the race and finished 25th”.

It’s not the end of their respective campaigns in 2018 and, as we’ve seen Steele von Hoff demonstrate, it is possible to have a successful return to racing shortly after being injured but the opening stanza of the European campaign has come to a close for the guys who had achieved so much only a little while ago in Flanders.

As they say, the story of their endeavours is to be continued…



– By Rob Arnold

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