Your guide to the Australians racing the 2023 Tour de France

Join us as we break down the 12-strong Australian contingent and what we expect from each rider.

Matt de Neef
by Matt de Neef 28.06.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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The 110th Tour de France is about to get underway in Bilbao, Spain and if you’re a fan of Australian cycling, there’s a lot to be excited about. A total of 12 Australian riders will be in attendance, representing their trade teams, giving fans back in Australia plenty of reason to tune in late at night.

While we wait for the race to start, here’s what you need to know about the Australian contingent at the Tour and what you can expect from each rider over the next three and a bit weeks.

Punching above their weight

Of the 27 nations represented at the 2023 Tour de France, only four have more riders than Australia. France has 32, Belgium has 21, the Netherlands and Spain have 14, and Australia, in fifth place, has 12. Australia is the only non-European country* in the top 11.

That’s a pretty impressive effort when you consider how far Australia is from cycling’s European heartland, both geographically and culturally. Cycling isn’t even close to being a mainstream sport in Australia, so to be one of the most heavily represented nations in the world’s biggest bike race is no small feat. Australia continues to punch above its weight on the global scene.

(*We’ve included Great Britain in “European countries”. Sorry, Brexit fans.)

Image: ProCyclingStats

Team distribution

Australia’s 12 representatives come from a total of seven teams. You’d think it would be the Australian-registered team Jayco-AlUla that would be fielding the most Aussie riders, but no, that honour goes to DSM-Firmenich. Half of the Dutch team’s eight-rider line-up is filled with Aussie riders.

Here’s how the teams break down:

An interesting side note: of the 12 riders going to the Tour, seven have raced for the Jayco-AlUla setup at some point.

Rider types

With Australian riders of all different specialities at this year’s Tour, Australians are likely to be in the mix on most days of this year’s race. Here’s how they breakdown:

(*Bahrain Victorious has said Haig is riding for Mikel Landa, but Haig is a GC contender in his own right, if the race breaks that way.)


While all 12 riders had their own distinct road to the world’s biggest race, we can see some similarities when we look at each rider’s pre-WorldTour background. A couple of key Australian development pathways certainly helped usher riders from the junior ranks to the big leagues.

Of the 12 Australian riders at the Tour, five were part of the BridgeLane/Bennelong SwissWellness/Avanti IsoWhey/Genesys Wealth Advisers/Praties setup:

Spearheaded by team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston, no team has been more instrumental in getting Australian male riders into the WorldTour in recent years. For context, here are just some of the other riders from that program who made it to the WorldTour: Richie Porte, Nathan Earle, Nathan Haas, and Steele von Hoff.

Another program with a strong record of helping Australian male riders to the WorldTour is the Jayco-AIS WorldTour Academy. That program ran in various forms from 1997 until roughly 2018* and gave promising riders the chance to represent their country and hone their racecraft in the U23 ranks before, hopefully, stepping up to the WorldTour.

(*The program didn’t really have a clean end date, as such. It morphed into the Mitchelton-Scott Continental team in 2017, which closed in 2019 having morphed into a Chinese-registered team with no Australian riders.)

Seven of the 12 Aussie starters at the 2023 Tour came through the WorldTour Academy, in its various guises:

Note that Haig and O’Connor spent time in both the WorldTour Academy setup and Christie-Johnston’s Avanti program before joining the WorldTour.

This photo of the 2016 WorldTour Academy team, from Ben O’Connor’s Instagram, contains a whole bunch of big names. How many can you name?

Other backgrounds are represented too. Sam Welsford is one of many Australian riders to have started his international career in the velodrome, before making the transition to the road. Welsford is a former scratch race and team pursuit world champion, and a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist to boot (scratch race and team pursuit).

In addition to their road pathways, Jack Haig, Matt Dinham, and Chris Hamilton were all mountain bikers of note earlier in their careers. Dinham was even Australia’s elite cross-country national champion in 2022.

Nick Schultz’s journey, meanwhile, was a little different to many of his compatriots’ in that he didn’t race for BridgeLane or the WorldTour Academy, or come across from the track. Instead he worked his way through the Continental and Pro Continental ranks (with SEG Racing and Caja-Rural respectively), before joining Mitchelton-Scott (now Jayco-AlUla) in 2019.


Of the 36 debutants in the 2023 Tour de France, five are from the Aussie contingent:

Matt Dinham is of particular note. At 23, this is his first season in the WorldTour ranks and the Tour will be his first-ever Grand Tour. That’s something of a rarity – most teams will send a young rider to the Giro d’Italia or Vuelta a España for their first taste of three-week racing, before throwing them into the madness of the Tour. 

While Sam Welsford is in his second season as a WorldTour pro, he too is making his Grand Tour debut at the Tour.

A breakdown of every rider

Here’s a more detailed look at each Australian rider at this year’s Tour and what you can expect from them.

Ben O’Connor (Ag2r Citroën)

The West Australian is one of the three Australians who’ll be targeting the GC at this year’s Tour. O’Connor finished fourth overall at the Tour two years ago after an amazing solo win from the breakaway that catapulted him up the GC. That was in his very first Tour.

If you’ve watched Netflix’s Tour de France docuseries, you will know that O’Connor’s 2022 Tour didn’t end as he planned: with a DNF after tearing a glute muscle in a crash. He comes in to this year’s race with solid form, having finished third overall at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.

Don’t expect to see O’Connor on the attack all that often, or doing anything particularly flashy – he’s more likely to bide his time, sticking with the big favourites as long as he possibly can, minimising his losses. He’ll be hoping that nets him a strong overall result.

O’Connor winning stage 9 of the 2021 Tour de France.

Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe)

It’s somewhat surprising that this is Hindley’s first Tour de France, what with him being a Giro d’Italia champion and everything. Another West Australian, Hindley skipped his title defence at this year’s Giro and is instead all in for the Tour.

Like O’Connor, Hindley comes in with solid form having finished fourth at the Critérium du Dauphiné (just behind O’Connor) and eighth at the Volta a Catalunya earlier in the season.

Many are tipping Hindley to be the best of the rest at this year’s Tour, behind the two uber-favourites Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vinegaard. If he’s on song, Hindley should be one of the best climbers in the race and should emerge near the top of the GC by the third week.

Hindley after winning the 2022 Giro.

Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious)

The Victorian comes to the Tour with a lot of unfinished business. He crashed out of the 2021 edition on stage 3, with a broken collarbone, and a crash on stage 5 last year saw him leave the race with multiple wrist fractures. Haig will firstly be hoping he can get through the nervous first week unscathed, before building into his work over the final two weeks.

Haig had a rather forgettable Giro earlier this season, but comes in with a fifth at the Dauphiné (that’s three Aussies in the top five), plus a couple other strong GC results to his name as well. Bahrain Victorious has said that Mikel Landa will lead the team’s GC tilt, with Haig playing a super-domestique role, but that will likely depend on how Landa’s race unfolds.

If Landa is well off the pace, perhaps Haig gets an opportunity to target GC again. Like O’Connor and Hindley, Haig isn’t likely to be on the attack too often; instead he’ll be focusing on minimising his losses wherever possible and hoping he’s got good climbing legs for the big mountain days, either to support Landa or for his own ambitions.

Luke Durbridge (Jayco-AlUla)

Durbridge isn’t the oldest Australian at the race, but he is the one with the most Tour experience. This will be the West Australian’s ninth visit to the race and he’s there to do what he does so well: ride in support of his team leaders.

Durbridge is a huge workhorse, particularly on flatter terrain, and will be a valuable asset for Jayco-AlUla’s two leaders, Simon Yates (in the mountains), and Dylan Groenewegen (on the flat stages). Expect to see Durbridge at the front of the bunch for long stretches of time throughout this Tour, particularly on days where Jayco-AlUla fancies Groenewegen for a sprint.

Chris Harper (Jayco-AlUla)

In his first season with Jayco-AlUla Harper gets to race his first Tour. A strong climber, Harper will play a key role for Simon Yates in the mountains.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny)

While Ewan’s Lotto Dstny team was demoted to ProTeam (second-tier) status in 2023, Ewan still gets the chance to add to his five Tour stage wins this year. Ewan won three sprint stages back in 2019 (including on the Champs-Élysées), and two the following year.

Ewan will be the first to admit that 2023 has not been his best season – he has just one victory, at the third-tier Belgian race, the Van Merksteijn Fences Classic in May. If he’s going to tussle with the best sprinters at the race, he’s going to have to improve from where he’s been so far this season. He can certainly do that though. Another sprint victory would be far from a surprise.

Ewan winning on the Champs-Élysées in 2019.

Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech)

Clarke is the oldest of the Australian riders at the Tour and a rider with plenty of experience at the world’s biggest race. You might remember Clarke’s stirring win from the breakaway on the ‘Roubaix stage’ in last year’s Tour … after only getting a contract for the 2022 season at the very last minute.

Clarke will again be in opportunist mode at this year’s Tour, targeting the undulating stages where he can use his strength and experience to target another stage win for Israel-Premier Tech.

Nick Schultz (Israel-Premier Tech)

In his debut Tour last year, with BikeExchange-Jayco, Schultz very nearly won a stage. It was only the wily and fast-finishing Magnus Cort that denied Schultz a win from the breakaway on stage 10 into Megève.

Like his new teammate at Israel-Premier Tech, Simon Clarke, Schultz will again be looking to the breakaway on hilly days in pursuit of that elusive stage win.

Schultz (left) narrowly being beaten on stage 10 of the 2022 Tour.

Matt Dinham (DSM-Firmenich)

Dinham is the youngest Australian on the startlist and the sixth-youngest rider in the entire race. As noted, his participation is something of a surprise but DSM-Firmenich has obviously been impressed with him so far this year.

Dinham is part of what the team describes as a “good strong core GP group that have been working well together over the past few months … who can support our GC finisher Romain [Bardet] over the mountainous terrain.” Expect more of the same from Dinham in his first Grand Tour.

Chris Hamilton (DSM-Firmenich)

Hamilton is part of the same GC group as Dinham and so will also be riding in support of Bardet in the mountains. If Bardet’s GC tilt falls apart, don’t be surprised to see Hamilton infiltrating breakways in the mountains, late in the Tour. He took second on a stage at the 2021 Giro, and third on a stage at the Vuelta the same year by getting up the road in this way.

Sam Welsford (DSM-Firmenich)

Welsford comes to the Tour as DSM-Firmenich’s man for the flat stages. If all goes well, he’s a real chance of taking his first Grand Tour stage win, but probably not on any stages where there’s much climbing along the way.

The former track world champion has three wins for the year already, including two stages of the Vuelta a San Juan where he beat Fabio Jakobsen – one of the top sprinters at this year’s Tour.

In exciting news for facial hair enthusiasts, Welsford also seems to be rocking a moustache at the moment, which is very good.

Alex Edmondson (DSM-Firmenich)

Edmondson is in his first year at DSM-Firmenich and comes to the Tour as a key support rider for Welsford. Depending on how things shake out, Edmondson might be used earlier in the flat stages, to keep the race together for a sprint, or he might form part of Welsford’s lead-out, alongside the likes of John Degenkolb and Nils Eekhoff.

Follow the links for our breakdown of the Tour de France contenders, our stage-by-stage route breakdown, and the full startlist.

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