Dual focus for Orica-GreenEDGE at Tour of Beijing

Mon 6 Oct 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE will showcase some of the world’s best young talent in a dual focus at the Tour of Beijing starting this Friday.

The outfit will officially welcome Caleb Ewan to the roster for the final race of the season as they ride in support of the young Australian sprinter in the trio of expected sprint opportunities throughout the five-day Tour.

As a secondary focus, the motivated outfit will also work to support young climbers Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves to challenge the general classification standings.

The fourth edition of the Tour of Beijing begins on Friday October 10, with a challenging opening stage in Chongli, in the midst of 1000 wind turbines to the north of the Chinese capital.

Ewan will ride in ORICA-GreenEDGE colours for the third time having signed on as a stagiaire for the majority of 2014, before being officially promoted to the roster on October 1. 

The 20-year-old made his debut for the team at the Prudential RideLondon Classic in August. It will be his second-time racing at WorldTour level having earned a start with the Australian national team at the Tour Down Under in January.

Coming off a silver medal in the under-23 road race at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships, Ewan said he was looking forward to carrying his form to Beijing.

“I am excited to race again for ORICA-GreenEDGE for what is officially my first race as a neo-pro,” Ewan said.

“It’s really great to know the team are already putting their faith in me in the finishes and I hope to be able to continue on from the world championships to deliver for them.”

Sport director Matt White is happy to finally welcome the promising sprinter onto the official roster.

“It is exciting for us to welcome Caleb into his first WorldTour race with the team,” sport director Matt White said.

“He is certainly going to get his opportunities in Beijing with three or four potential sprints.

“The two goals for us in Beijing are to support Caleb as much as possible in those three or four sprint stages and also to help Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates to ride a very good quality general classification.”

Chaves, a future grand tour general classification hopeful, gives ORICA-GreenEDGE a quality option in the mountains when the Tour of Beijing comes to the crunch on stages three and four. 

A stage winner at both the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse this season, the Colombian rode as the first grand tour general classification consideration of the team at this year’s Vuelta a Espana.

Yates meanwhile, still in his first year as a professional with the WorldTour team, has impressed. The 22-year-old was 12th overall the Tour of the Basque Country, earned a top-10 at the Tour of Slovenia and was a bronze medallist in his national championship race in June. Yates also made his grand tour debut at this year's Tour de France. Most recently, he took out the mountains classification at the Tour of Alberta.

The young duo will be supported by the fire power of Daryl Impey who took overall honours by just one second at the Tour of Alberta earlier this month, and was then fourth in a support role for winning teammate Simon Gerrans at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec which followed. 

Dutchman Pieter Weening, a dual Giro d’Italia stage winner, and road captains Mathew Hayman and Brett Lancaster, along with New Zealander Sam Bewley also give ORICA-GreenEDGE a significant engine room.

“It’s a similar race to last year,” White said. “The mountain stage has been altered a little bit and they have put in another couple of climbs to soften up the field before the last stage.”

“Once again we are going to see a battle within the battle with (Alejandro) Valverde and (Alberto) Contador fighting for number one rider in the world.

“But I think Esteban has shown that he has come out of the Vuelta with good legs, he was in the breaks in the final of the world championships, and Simon Yates, it is a course that suits him quite well as well. 

“We certainly have some options to finish off what has been a very successful season.”

The 2014 Tour of Beijing will be held from the Friday 10th to Tuesday 14th of October as the last event on the UCI WorldTour calendar. The five day, 764.5 kilometre route provides for opportunistic racing and takes in breathtaking views of the Great Wall, Beijing’s mountain terrain and embraces key tourism attractions such as Tiananmen Square and the Bird’s Nest.