Additional climbing power gives ORICA-SCOTT options at Liege-Bastogne-LiegeThu 20 Apr 2017
The inclusion of Adam and Simon Yates into the line-up for Liege-Bastogne-Liege will give ORICA-SCOTT extra options for the final Ardennes classic of the season this Sunday.
The Yates brothers join Michael Albasini, who finished in the top-five at Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne, an in-form Roman Kreuziger and former winner Simon Gerrans to give the Australian outfit a number of options to play with throughout the tough 258km one-day race.
Damien Howson, Daryl Impey and Chris Juul-Jensen, who each performed their roles to perfection at Fleche Wallonne, complete the squad.
Sport director Matt White said the team will not start with a clear leader but try to use the depth of the squad to their advantage.
“Our strength will be in numbers on Sunday,” White said.
“Riders that featured on the podium at Fleche Wallonne, like (Alejandro) Valverde and (Daniel) Martin, are the clear favourites.
“Whilst we don’t have one of them, we do have a number of guys that can feature in the last hour and we will be trying to use that to our advantage in order to challenge.
12 months ago Albasini narrowly missed out on a Liege-Bastogne-Liege victory, thriving in horrific conditions to finish in second place behind Wout Poels (Team Sky).
This Sunday will produce cool but much more pleasant conditions, and is also without the penultimate climb and location of Albasini’s successful attack last year, but he and his teammates have plenty to race for.
“Everything happens in the last hour of racing at Liege, that is where the race is won or lost,” White said. “Generally, those who manage to get clear on that final Saint-Nicholas climb aren’t ever caught again.”
“The start list doesn’t necessarily have as many of the big names we have seen in the past, probably because a lot of them are preparing for the Giro instead this year, but we know that isn’t going to soften the challenge ahead.”
Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the oldest of the five monuments in cycling and is also considered one of the more difficult one-day races on the calendar due to the combination of its length and terrain. Riders will face 10 categorised climbs and another 10 uncategorised climbs throughout well over six hours on the bike.
ORICA-SCOTT at Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Sunday, 23 April):