Great Expectations for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Jayco Herald Sun TourMon 3 Feb 2014
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is back on the roster for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 2014, with a reinvented parcours and a new early-season spot on the calendar. Australia’s oldest stage race kicks off on Wednesday in Melbourne, with sixteen teams of six contesting the five-day long race.
Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square will host the race start of the 61st edition of this event, with a 2.5 kilometre twilight prologue along the banks of the Yarra River. From there, the race leaves Melbourne and heads off on a scenic tour of country Victoria.
“The course that the organisers have put together this year is fantastic, it should be one of the most spectacular Jayco Herald Sun Tours yet,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “With the way the course has been designed, I am expecting it to be a very open and unpredictable race.”
The prologue winner will wear the leader’s jersey into stage one, which takes in Australian cycling’s two big capitals on the 116 kilometre stage from Geelong to Ballarat. The race then winds its way north through country Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, before turning south for a final showdown around the wineries of the Mornington Peninsula.
“There are just four stages and a prologue,” added Wilson. “In a short race like this, the win will come down to a matter of seconds rather than minutes, which means that every second counts out on the road. We’ve been clear about our objectives: we want to win the general classification and hopefully take some stages along the way.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE is sending another in-form team to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, which is the team’s final race on home soil in what has already been a hugely successful Australian summer of racing.
“I’ve been a part of this race many times, but the team we are sending to this year’s edition is probably the strongest that I’ve seen line up here,” said Wilson. “It’s a diverse group with a lot of options. As a WorldTour team in a domestic race, there’s pressure on us to do well, and we’re going in with big ambitions. I expect some strong competition not only from Garmin, Drapac and Cannondale, but also from the domestic teams like Avanti.”
“Obviously Simon Gerrans has excellent form, so he’s a great chance for the overall, but the whole team is strong,” continued Wilson. “We have Matt Goss who will be on the hunt for stage wins. Cameron Meyer was fourth at the National Championships and Simon Clarke was one of our key riders at Tour Down Under, so they’re both in great shape. Mitch Docker and Damien Howson will be there in support roles, and we’ll be relying heavily on them.”
Here, Wilson takes a stage-by-stage look at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour:
Prologue - Melbourne (2.5 km):
2.5 kilometres and very technical, this is one for the powerful track-style riders. It’s going to be a spectacular start to the race, in the evening around the restaurant precinct of Fed Square and Southbank.
Stage 1 - Geelong-Ballarat (116.1 km):
This is a short and straight road stage from Geelong to Ballarat. Crosswinds will be the major factor in this stage, and it will likely be a sprint finish.
Stage 2 - Ballarat-Bendigo (163 km):
A scenic stage around country Victoria. The climb up Mt Alexander with about 50 kilometres to go will test the riders and it could go either way in the final, depending on how hard the climb ends up being.
Stage 3 - Mitchelton Winery-Nagambie (156.1 km):
This will be a picturesque stage through the Goulburn Valley. We’ve hosted the Rivers and Ranges Winery Ride here the past two years, where we ride with all of our supporters, so the guys know these roads well. It’s another chance for the sprinters.
Stage 4 - Arthur’s Seat (125 km):
This is the Queen stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, with 124 kilometres around the Mornington Peninsula, finishing with three ascents up Arthur’s Seat. The three-kilometre climb averages an eight percent gradient, so this will be the decisive stage for the climbers and the overall.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Jayco Herald Sun Tour: