Cyclingnews has another good interview with Neil Stephens, Aussie bike legend. I don't know Neil personally although I've ridden with him a couple of times - in a large bunch! I do know a man who claims to have helped the Stephens brothers off to their start in bike racing back in Canberra (and yes I believe him); and I also know about the Rookwood cemetery training loop, so there's scope for scandal there surely?
Maybe not. Point is that someone got Neil on a bike, riding, then racing, then winning. You and I know that winning - or at least having a sniff - is enough motivation to train and train some more. Neil's never shirked training. For me it was gentle persistence by the then Randwick Botany club president (thanks Col) that finally got me racing. Sometimes it takes some nudging. Neil surely had a host of other, different factors that got him going and kept him going. And now he's 'putting back' into the sport. I'm not a great fan of nationalism, indeed it's high on my list of the cheap tricks and bread and circuses used by politicians and power brokers to distract us from thinking straight, but I can see the excitement that will surround any 'national' team entering the pro peleton, be it Kazahk or Aussie. Anything that gets what amounts to an alternative sport (an alternative to footy and cricket!)'out there' in public view is good. If not great.