Cycling News

‘I’ve got a new appreciation of hurt’

Luke Plapp, 2022 World Championships

Luke Plapp is your quintessential Aussie bloke. 

Tall, bronzed, blonde and gregarious, his chief loves are cricket and footy. Growing up, if it weren’t for the prospect of a free muffin and hot chocolate before school, Australia’s two-time and freshly minted road champion may never have turned to cycling. 

I know of but don’t know a lot about the second year Ineos Grenadiers rider when we sit down on a rectangular ottoman near a conference room turned teams’ dining hall during the Tour Down Under.

It’s just before dinner but Plapp, or “Plappy”, as he is affectionately known among peers, or Luke, or Lucas, I’m not sure which it is, the internet says both, he’s not in a rush to eat. 

Between us are two phones recording our conversation – mine and that of Ineos Grenadiers press officer Jean Smyth, who is standing across from us at a respectful distance, leaning up against a wall, but still within earshot. Whilst this is more so than not common practice now, it’s not necessary. 

Plapp as he journeys along the well-trodden path from Australia’s blue riband track program to the WorldTour, is trying his hand at a bit of everything and seeing where he fits in road racing. But when it comes to the business of the sport, the media game, he is rehearsed and his intellect, and commercial savvy is obvious. Plapp is natural and confident in mixed zones and one-on-one acutely aware of his audience, which he caters to in answers. Outside of the sport, he’s also invested in property, specifically six acres of land in Bright – a popular town in Victoria’s High Country. 

Plapp has had a busy couple of months since turning 22 on Christmas Day and the start of the WorldTour season in Adelaide. 

Read more: The highs and lows of Peter Sagan’s career

You could say that Christmas for Plapp is actually the next day. He religiously attends the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in Melbourne, where Plapp grew up in the inner-west suburb of Maribyrnong, with his best mate. 

Plapp went last year despite spending Christmas in Tasmania with his girlfriend, the pro cyclist Georgia Baker. 

Cycling was not Plapp’s first sporting love (Zac Williams/SWPix)

“I haven’t missed a Boxing Day Test in probably like, woah, over 10 years,” Plapp says. “We go there every year and that’s my thing; always go to Boxing Day at the ‘G. 

“I was at Georgia’s this year for Chrissy, for all of December basically. But then Georgia’s like, ‘Oh, when…

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