Great Vic Ambassador Simon Clarke wins Tour de France fifth stage

Simon Clarke won stage five of the Tour De France last week, following an exhausting trek through the cobblestone roads of northern France.

In his seventh Tour de France and first riding for the Israel-Premier Tech team, Clarke smashed through the Tour de France’s notorious 150 km run from Lille to Arenberg and emerged victorious after a nail-biting photo finish alongside Taco van der Hoorn.

The achievement marked a massive milestone for Simon, who told the ABC: "I moved to Europe when I was 16, and I turn 36 on the second rest day. That's 20 years in Europe and the dream finally came true!"

Across his 13-year professional career, Clarke has won two stages at the 2012 Vuelta a España and has ridden for the Astana and Orica GreenEDGE racing teams in the UCI World Tour. Clarke also represented Australia at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

A Great Vic Bike Ride veteran

Clarke’s passion for riding was developed on Bicycle Network’s Great Vic Bike Ride in 1998, where he rode with a school group as part of the 9-day adventure.

It was on Clarke’s second Great Vic Bike Ride that he had the opportunity to ride with track racing Olympian Dean Woods, who recognised his talent.

“It was at this stage that Woods came to me with some words of encouragement,” Clarke told RIDE Cycling Review in 2010, “he uttered a few words that would have a lasting effect on what I did after my school days: 'You really should join a club. You have lasted longer than the other kids.'”

Since turning professional, Clarke has been actively involved as a Great Vic ambassador, riding along with the next generation of riders. Clarke joined riders on the Great Vic Bike Ride in 2019, the most recent event.

After 2 years off, Great Vic will be back in 2022, with an exciting route along the Great Ocean Road that includes volcanic craters, Otway rainforests, rugged coastlines and the Golden Plains.

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