Robbie McEwen is an Australian former professional road bicycle racer. He last rode for Orica-GreenEDGE on the UCI World Tour in 2012. As a triple winner of the Tour de France's green jersey sprinters' classification at his peak he was considered one of the fastest sprinters in the world.
A former Australian BMX champion, McEwen switched to road racing in 1990 at 18. He raced as a professional from 1996 until 2012. McEwen lives in Australia with his Belgian wife Angelique Pattyn, his son Ewan, and his daughters Elena and Claudia. In 2011 he published an autobiography, One Way Road. McEwen has lived a long time in the Belgian town of Everbeek and is fluent in Dutch.
He retired from the World Tour after riding the 2012 Tour of California.
Robbie now works part-time as a tv commentator, brand ambassador for Bikebug, corporate guest speaker and has a line of cycling apparel - RMC along with an all natural chamois cream that is available in stores & online.
After 4 years of moving through the regional, state & national levels of cycling McEwen started at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra under the A.I.S. road cycling coach Heiko Salzwedel. The first signs of his sprinting prowess on the international stage were at the "Peace Race", winning three stages for the Australian National team.
He competed in the road race at the 1996 Summer Olympics (23rd) and the 2000 Summer Olympics (19th). He was also included on the Australian team for the 1994 UCI Road Cycling World Championship in Italy, and the 2002 UCI Road Cycling World Championship in Belgium where he won a silver medal. McEwen was again selected for Australia at the 2004 Summer Olympics (11th) as part of the road race team.
McEwen was named 2002 Australian Cyclist of the Year, 2002 Male Road Cyclist of the Year and 1999 Australia Male Road Cyclist of the Year. After spending 16 seasons racing for foreign teams (Dutch - Rabobank & Farm Frites, Belgian - Lotto, Russian - Katusha, USA - RadioShack) in September 2011 he signed the new Australian team GreenEDGE, which obtained a ProTeam licence for the 2012 season.
Tour de France
McEwen has participated in the Tour de France 12 times, in 1997 (117th), 1998 (89th), 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. He has had 12 stage wins. In 1999 on stage 20 he won the sprint in Paris on the Champs-Elysées. In 2002 he won stage 3: Metz – Reims and stage 20: Melun – Paris. In 2004 he won stages 3 and 9. In 2005 he won stage 5 to Montargis, stage 7 to Karlsruhe in Germany and stage 13 to Montpellier. In 2006 he won stages 2, 4 and 6 to Esch-sur-Alzette, St Quentin and Vitré.
He started the 2007 Tour with a victorious sprint on stage 1 to Canterbury. The stage win was seen as remarkable as he had crashed with 20 km to go. He injured his knee and wrist but with the help of his team he clawed his way back to the bunch to win the sprint by over a bike length. The injuries he sustained from this crash did not prevent him from continuing but eventually he was forced out of the race when the Tour entered the Mountains, his knee injury became worse and he failed to finish stage eight within the time limit.
In 2002 McEwen became the first Australian to win the Maillot vert (green jersey) overall Points (or Sprint) Classification of the Tour de France. By 2006, McEwen had won the sprinters' green jersey points competition three times in this race, in 2002, 2004 and again in 2006, defeating rivals such as fellow Australians Baden Cooke and Stuart O'Grady, and international competitors like Erik Zabel of Germany,Tom Boonen of Belgium and Thor Hushovd of Norway.
McEwen's first win in the 2002 Tour de France saw him take the green jersey from Zabel, with O’Grady third and Cooke fourth. In 2004 McEwen won the green jersey for a second time, defeating Hushovd and Erik Zabel. McEwen had fractured two tranverse process (vertebrae) in a mass pile up on stage 6 and continued the race in extreme pain, making his stage 9 win in Gueret all the more remarkable.
McEwen won his third and final green jersey in 2006, this time with Zabel second and Hushovd third.
In 2012, he announced that the Tour of California would be the last professional race of his career. He struggled to reach the finishing line of the mountain stages in the gruppetto. He humorously said after his arrival on the final stage in Los Angeles: "This was a good race to pick as my last because I suffered so much this week I won't miss it." He was awarded the "Most Courageous Rider" jersey at the end of the race to commemorate his last day of professional cycling.