Back-to-back Italian one-day races for ORICA-GreenEDGEFri 4 Mar 2016
Following hot on the heels of Strade Bianche, the Italian one-day race GP Industria and Artigianato di Larciano takes place on Sunday in the province of Pistoia.
Making its return to the UCI Europe Tour for the 2016 season, the last edition of the race was won by Adam Yates in 2014.
After outsprinting Italian Davide Formolo for his third win for ORICA-GreenEDGE in what proved to be a successful debut season, Yates returns for a second attempt.
Raced on a relatively flat route before a hilly finishing circuit, the race used to take place in the hot Tuscan summer, sports director Neil Stephens explained that this could make a significant difference to the race.
“I have never done this race before but from what I understand it is a nice race with a hard finishing circuit," Stephens said. "There are four laps of an easy circuit then four laps of a hard one.”
“The race was won by Adam (Yates) as a first year professional but racing in the sunshine in summer and the rain in March is not really the same.
“There are four ways to do the final climb and this is the hardest."
Yates will be joined by four of the squad members from Strade Bianche in Christian Meier, Jens Keukeleire, Luke Durbridge and Alex Edmondson. Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans appears in his first European race of the season whilst Tour de France stage winner Ruben Plaza races in the ORICA-GreenEDGE jersey for the first time. Esteban Chaves completes a team which has strength in depth and options for the uphill finish.
“First hit out for Ruben and no doubt the classics guys will have heavy legs from the day before (Strade Bianche), but the best training for these boys is to ride as far and as hard as we can,” Stephens said.
“We will be looking to our classics guys to support and protect the rest of the team going into the uphill finish. We have a good team here and after a solid start to the season so far, we are looking forward to it.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE at GP Industria and Artigianato di Larciano (6 March):