ORICA-AIS head to Thüringen Rundfahrt with clear ambitions

Wed 13 Jul 2016

ORICA-AIS head into this week's seven-day race, the 29th edition of Thüringen Rundfahrt, quietly confident with specific ambitions.

The Australian outfit has enjoyed previous success over the years at this event, last year claiming eight podium finishes, with Gracie Elvin taking a stage win and the team clinching the overall victory with former ORICA-AIS rider Emma Johansson and Australian champion Amanda Spratt placing fourth overall.

Being an important race on the calendar for the Australian team, it has become a key targets for the squad during their 2016 campaign and the timing of the event this year provides the perfect preparation for the riders going on to the Olympic Games in Rio.

"Last year Thurigen was the highlight of the season for our team, from the team perspective and the tactical perspective," explained sport director Martin Barras. "This year again, we are taking a very strong team but it will be quite a different target for us this year."

"Annemiek van Vleuten, Rachel Neylan, Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt have all been selected for the Olympics, so for these girls it is an important part of their final preparation.

"We will therefore approach the race slightly differently, and think of it as a selection of one-day races as we have to be very conscious of managing these riders well throughout the course of the race to make sure they come out of the tour flying."

Recently added to the team line-up is Tour de Feminin stage winner Loren Rowney and second place stage finisher Tayler Wiles, both displaying good form in their most recent outing just five days ago.

"We decided to take Katrin Garfoot out of the line-up, to recover properly having come off a long alitude block," continued Barras. "Once we knew there was going to be a spot open it was a no brainer for us to bring in Loren. You beat the iron when it's hot, and in Lorens case obviously it's hot."

"Tayler will be mostly looking towards the general classification and Loren looking for stage result as-well as supporting Tayler day in, day out.

"For the others girls it will be more a case of picking and choosing. They will race a few days hard and for the rest of the stages just be making sure they stay in good nick to finish the tour in a good place."

The race consists of seven stages including one time trial stage were newly crowned Dutch time trial champion, Van Vleuten will show off her red, blue and white stripes in the 19kilometre race against the clock which takes place on Monday.

In the 2015 edition of the race, Wiles placed fourth on the time trial stage and will be looking to the this event again this year, as like any stage race it proves to be a important stage for riders with general classification ambitions.

With many of the competition coming fresh off the back of the Giro Rosa and many in their final phases of preparation for the Olympics, the race is certainly going to be a challenging feat with the best riders in the world, lining up with their best form. The UCI event begins procceeding on Friday 15th with a short circuit race around Gotha.

ORICA-AIS in Thüringen Rundfahrt:

Gracie Elvin (AUS, ACT, 27) 

Rachel Neylan (AUS, NSW, 33) 

Loren Rowney (AUS, QLD, 28)

Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)

Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 33) 

Tayler Wiles (USA, 26)  

Thüringen Rundfahrt stages (15-21st July):

Fri, 15th July: Stage 1, Gotha, 67km

Sat, 16th July: Stage 2, Erfurt, 105km

Sun, 17th July: Stage 3, Altenburg, 117km

Mon, 18th July: Stage 4, Zeulenroda lakes, 19km ITT

Tue, 19th July: Stage 5, Greiz, 122km

Wed, 20th July: Stage 6, Schleiz, 122km 

Thurs, 21st July: Stage 7, Gera, 128km