Cycling’s show of respect for White
December 16, 2007, 11:17 am
Filed under: cycling | Tags: , , , , , , ,

An easy way to gauge Matt White’s standing in Australian cycling is to look at the field that has gathered for his retirement race.

Organiser Phill Bates is justifiably billing Sunday’s Cronulla International Grand Prix in Sydney as the best collection of road cycling talent in this country since the Sydney Olympics.

Stuart O’Grady, Robbie McEwen, Brad McGee and Allan Davis will compete, while Cadel Evans will also be there as a commentator.


Several of the top riders racing on Sunday have entered specifically because it is White’s swansong.

White, who hails from neighbouring Caringbah, will on Sunday end a career that was never big on results, but massive in terms of the respect and admiration he earnt.

The 33-year-old made his career as a “super domestique”, one of the first men picked in any team.

He rode in support for the team leader and White performed this role for some of the sport’s biggest stars, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

White rode in the Tour de France, the Olympics and several world championships, as well as most other major professional races in Europe.

“He is really well-respected by staff, by riders of all nationalities and, yeah, he’s a pretty special person, Whitey,” said Cycling Australia’s national performance director Shayne Bannan.

“No matter how difficult the situation, he can always see the positive side and he generates a lot of energy into the team.

“If Matthew White was in the team, you knew you had someone who would really gather the troops and make sure that the job that was expected, was done.”

White decided to retire earlier this year when he was approached by emerging American team Slipstream.

He will join Slipstream as an assistant director and Bannan sees it as a logical progression for White’s cycling career.

“It’s sad to see Whitey retire, but then again, I feel he could become a really valuable resource for Australian cycling in the coaching and managing area,” Bannan said.

“From a selfish point of view, he could really be special later on.”

Sunday’s racing will also feature a women’s race, featuring Olympic gold medallist Sara Carrigan, world track champion Kate Bates and her sister, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie Bates.

The main racing will start at midday.


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