ORICA-GreenEDGE had high hopes for the second stage of the Santos Tour Down Under. With Wednesday widely billed as a decisive day for those with overall ambitions, largely in part due to a daring descent into the Gorge followed by the Corkscrew climb just ahead of the finish, the team planned to put Simon Gerrans up for the stage win and a chance to show his strength in the general classification battle. Unfortunately, Gerrans suffered up the climb and now remains out of contention for a repeat overall title.
“It’s very disappointing at the moment,” admitted Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We have a really strong team here, and everyone on the team did everything that could for Simon today. We took control of the race during the final flat stretch to put Simon into good position. He said he felt good before the climb, but when he had to go hard and hit top speed, he just didn’t have it. It didn’t work out at all for us today.”
“It’s disappointing, but that’s cycling,” he added. “It’s just a part of the sport. There’s no point in crying over split milk. We’ll pick ourselves up and move on. We still see several good opportunities for stages win, so we’ll be chasing stages here on in. That’s our new objective.”
Luke Durbridge did a tremendous amount of work on the front of the bunch before the race descended into the Gorge. Jens Mouris and Stuart O’Grady took responsibility for pace-making in the build-up to the Corkscrew. The shows of strength and control bode well for the team’s chances of securing a WorldTour win on home soil.
“We rode incredibly strong today,” said Wilson. “Everyone did what they were asked to do. Racing at home gives us extra motivation. The crowd’s response to the team is huge. We get an amazing amount of attention here. I think there are more GreenEDGE jerseys and hats lining the road in Adelaide than we see at the rest of the races combined.”
“It’s great for the riders to enjoy so much support and see so many fans with knowledge of the team,” he added. “We hope to win one for our supporters in the coming stages.”