ORICA-SCOTT looking to continue their strong start to the season at the CEGORR eventsWed 25 Jan 2017
ORICA-SCOTT head to Victoria this week for the inaugural Towards Zero Race Melbourne and the third edition of the one-day Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
This new criterium race, named the Towards Zero Race Melbourne will take place tomorrow on Australia day after the elite women’s event and will follow the world-famous Australian Formula 1™ Grand Prix circuit.
The riders complete 22 laps of a 5.3kilometre circuit giving a total distance of 116.6kilometres which sets the scene for a challenging long afternoon of criterium racing.
Four-time Santos Tour Down Under stage winner and current Australian criterium champion Caleb Ewan will lead the ORICA-SCOTT squad having proven his great form and speed after a phenomenal week in Adelaide.
“Caleb was unbeatable at the Santos Tour Down Under and he will be the man to beat at Race Melbourne,” said sport director Matt Wilson. “We have a good strong team around him to back him and there’s no doubt about it we are going into this race to win.”
The Australian outfit will then head over to Geelong for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race which takes place on Sunday 29th, with the same high ambitions and confidence after their already successful start to the 2017 season.
The 174kilometre one-dayer is often compared to a European style classic with the potential for an unpredictable finale. Last year the event was won solo with the reduced peloton sprinting in just six-seconds shy.
"We've got a strong team giving us options, different cards to play and we're expecting it to be another hard race like the previous two years.” Wilson continued.
“Its a really aggressive sort of race and it is quite unpredictable especially on those final hilly laps. We have a really good team, a lot of these guys have already had many race days so we are ready for a solid race.”
The team line up will be a fairly diverse group of seven riders and will include last year’s fifth place finisher Simon Gerrans and Santos Tour Down Under runner-up Esteban Chaves, makng his debut in the Australian races.
The team will remain much the same for the two events except Ewan steps down after the criterium as Australian Time Trial silver medallist Luke Durbridge and Mitch Docker come in to help out in the Great Ocean Road Race.
Fellow Australians Damien Howson and Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic Stage winner Michael Hepburn boost the squad racing on both days, along with New Zealander powerhouse Sam Bewley, who joins the team in Australia ready to kick off his 2017 season.
This year the event steps up to a 1.HC classification bringing in more of the top level WorldTour riders and will once again start and finish along the scenic Geelong Waterfront.
Thursday 26th January:
Towards Zero Race Melbourne, 116.6kilomtres
Sunday 29th January:
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, 174kilometres