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ORICA-SCOTT women begin their tour campaign this week at Emakumeen XXX Bira

Sun 14 May 2017

After a busy start to the season with many one-day races during the classics period, the ORICA-SCOTT women’s team head to the Basque country ready for the hilly five-day stage race Emakumeen XXX Bira.

Like previous years, a one-day race Durango-Durango is a precursor of the tour which the team will also start with the same squad of six-riders.

The Australian outfit head into this stage race straight from a mid-season training camp, which sport director Gene Bates believes is the perfect preparation after lots of training kilometres and tough climbing work.

“The girls are coming into this race from a training camp in Spain where they've done a lot of climbing,” Bates explained. “They’ve had a lot of good hard training days and so we will aim to win the harder mountainous stages.”

“If we focus on these stages then the general classification should come along with that, but that’s not our main target.

"We will assess before the last stage if we are in a really good position for the overall to try and go for it. Mainly we’ll looking for stage victories and really work on our climbing skills further.”

The 30th edition of the five-day race features some short stages, with the hardest days coming latter in the tour with a summit finish on stage four and first category climbs on the final day. These days are expected to be the most decisive stages for the overall classification contenders.

“It’s the line in the sand before the classics period and the stage races start. Obviously we didn’t go to the Tour of California so this race is the start of our tour campaign.” Bates continued.

“I think it is a good race for us to start back at with some shorter stages but it will still be really intense. There’s a lot more climbing in this year’s tour and we are in a good position to have a good race.”

The team has enjoyed success in this race in the past with two stage victories in 2015. The current Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten previously won the Emakumeen XXX Bira prologue ahead of current dual Australian champion Katrin Garfoot back in 2015.

The two riders will line up again this season along with the Santos Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt, young Australian Jenelle Crooks, Tour of Flanders runner up Gracie Elvin and Kiwi Georgia Williams.

The race begins with a short 50kilometre opening road stage on Wednesday 17th May.

ORICA-SCOTT riders for Emakumeen Euskal Bira:

Jenelle Crooks (AUS, 22)
Grace Elvin (AUS, 28)
Katrin Garfoot (AUS, 35)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, 29)
Annemeik van Vleuten (NED, 34)
Georgia Williams (NZL, 23)

Durango-Durango:
One-day race, 113km (16th May)

Emakumeen Euskal Bira stage details (17-21st May):

Wednesday, 17th May: Stage 1, Iurreta - Iurreta, 50km
Thursday, 18th May: Stage 2,  Markina-Xemein - Markina-Xemein, 90km
Friday, 19th May: Stage 3, Antzuola - Antzuola, 77.6km 
Saturday, 20th May: Stage 4, Etxarri-Aranatz - Aralargo San Migel, 58km
Sunday, 21st May: Stage 5, Errenteria - Errenteria, 96km

Photo courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

 

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