|Renshaw at the Tour Down Under, 2011|
Renshaw undoubtedly had a glittering career on the track ahead of him and with consistently excellent results in 2002 it looked as though that was indeed where his destiny lay; yet it was that same year that he made the switch into road racing. The process began with an invitation to join the FDJeux development team which, after he finished Stage 4 at the Herald Sun Tour in second place, was upgraded to a traineeship in the team's ProTour squad the following season. Victory at the Be Active Criterium Series and good results at several other races that year (having not turned his back entirely on track, he also became National Madison Champion alongside Graeme Brown) brought him a full professional contract with the team in 2004, the year he finished two stages at the Tour de l'Avenir in second place. In 2005 he rode his first Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, and finished one stage in eighth place before coming 144th overall; then at the end of the year he announced he would be moving to Crédit Agricole and, in his first season with them, won a stage at the Jayco Bay Classic, won the Tro-Bro Léon, impressed with third and second place stage finishes at the Tour Méditerranéen and Sachsen Tour, rode at but did not finish the Vuelta a Espana and then took two second place stage finishes at the Circuit Franco-Belge. In 2007, still with Crédit Agricole, he won the General Classification at Jayco Bay, won Stage 2 at the Tour de Picardie and returned to the Vuelta, this time finishing top ten twice and completing in 144th place. 2008 was his final year with the team; after winning Jayco Bay again he went to the Tour Down Under and won Stage 1 before coming third overall in the Points competition, then rode at but did not finish his first Tour de France.
It was widely expected that Cavendish and Renshaw would remain together, continuing their partnership at a team that could afford them both, but this was not the case - following several months of somewhat hyped-up, media-delighting uncertainty, Cavendish went to Team Sky and Renshaw to Rabobank. Cav, whom some believed would be unable to win without Renshaw's help, won three stages at the Tour de France, including the final stage for a fourth time; Renshaw went to Rabobank where he rode once again with his old Madison partner Graeme Brown. Now permitted more chances to ride for himself, he finished top ten 25 times that season, including a victory on Stage 4 at the Tour of Turkey when he beat his fellow Australian Matthew Goss (one of the few sprinters able to take on Cav), three top ten stage finishes at the Giro d'Italia and one at the Tour de France (which he abandoned in Stage 12, suffering pain from four crashes earlier on during the race).
|Renshaw leading Cav|
Born in Ramnäs, Sweden on this day in 1965, Marie Höljer became Junior National Individual Time Trial Champion in 1982 and then came second at the Elite National Road Race Championship a year later, when she also rode with the winning Elite time trial team (as she would again in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990). She became Elite National Individual Time Trial Champion in 1984 and 1991 and was Elite Road Race Champion again in 1988, 1989 and 1991; also taking either second or third in each competition in several of the intervening years before retiring in 2000.
Aad de Graaf, born in Rotterdam on this day in 1939, was Dutch Amateur Sprint Champion in 1960, 1961 and 1962, then came second in 1963 and 1964. In 1965 he turned professional, winning silver for the Sprint at the Elite National Championships that year and the next.
Other cyclists born on this day: Maxime Bally (Switzerland, 1986); Paul Schulze (Germany, 1882); Tim Carswell (New Zealand, 1971); Donna Wynd (New Zealand, 1961); Rudolf Franz (Germany, 1937); Pascal Robert (France, 1963); César Marcano (Venezuela, 1987).