Hayman Out, Hepburn in For ORICA-GreenEDGE at Gent-WevelgemSat 29 Mar 2014
Gent-Wevelgem is the third Belgium classic over five days of racing – and the one most likely to end in a sprint. The race includes fewer hellingen and cobbled climbs for which Flemish Cycling Week is famous, but the 233 kilometre route is no walk in the park. Crosswinds can wreak havoc on the field on the early loop towards the North Sea, and two ascents each of the Kemmelberg and Monteberg will likely split up the race.
“This is a very different race from Dwars and E3,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The lack of cobble sections makes the race far less selective. With only two ascents of the Kemmelberg with significant cobbles, Gent-Wevelgem is generally a lot more open of a race and quite often you get sprinters winning it.”
Six ORICA-GreenEDGE riders crashed out of contention at E3 Harelbeke on Friday. Mathew Hayman sustained a hematoma in his right calf that prevents him from taking the start in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. Michael Hepburn will serve as Hayman's replacement. After hitting his head in the same pile-up, Svein Tuft was diagnosed with a concussion. Tuft will line-up in Deinze under the watchful care of the team doctor.
“Hayman is definitely out tomorrow,” said Wilson. “Hepburn is definitely in. That’s the only major change due to crashes. We’ll look at Svein during the race tomorrow to see how he is. He may only do a small amount of the race.”
“Having Hayman out impacts us quite a bit,” Wilson added. “We’re also dealing with cumulative fatigue in the legs. The guys went quite deep on Friday and on Wednesday. That’s always a factor, but we’re in the same position as the other teams.”
“We would very satisfied with a podium,” Wilson concluded. “That would be an amazing result. Realistically, we’re aiming for a top five or top ten.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Gent-Wevelgem: