In His Own Words: Matt Wilson Previews Amgen Tour of CaliforniaSat 11 May 2013
In its eighth year, the Amgen Tour of California once again promises to fulfil big expectations from riders and fans alike. This year the tour begins in Escondido, a city located near the border of Mexico, and finishes in the picturesque city of Santa Rosa, 853 kilometres north of the first stage. For eight days, ORICA-GreenEDGE will race alongside 15 other teams over mountain passes and through coastal towns. On the final stage, the peloton will ride across the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge, which receives special recognition since it is only the third time in 52 years that the bridge has been closed for a special event.
ORICA-GreenEDGE will bring an eight man squad to the ‘Golden State’ for its second time racing the AToC. In his own words, Sport Director Matt Wilson walks us through the roster and shares his thoughts on the race.
Cameron Meyer is the rider we’ll look to for the overall. He recently finished 6th overall at the Tour of Turkey where his form got better and better every day. He was 11th overall in California last year, and we’re expecting him to be a real contender this year.
Michael Matthews is one of our riders who will target specific stages. He’s a sprinter, but he’s a sprinter who can climb. Given his strengths and the terrain, Matthews will be well suited to go for the win on several stages.
Baden Cooke is the most experienced guy on the California roster. His role as road captain will be extremely important particularly because the peloton will be racing without radios. Beyond directing his teammates on the road, Baden will play an important role in the sprint train for Matthews.
Travis Meyer recently had a strong showing at the Ardennes Classics and Tour de Romandie. He brings his good form to California where he will serve as his brother’s right hand man in the mountains. With his current form, Trav might also find an opportunity for himself at some point during the eight days.
Fumy Beppu is one of our most versatile riders. We’ll look to Fumy to help Matthews in the sprint stages and Cam in the mountains. His ability to do both makes him an important asset to the team.
Michael Hepburn has been gaining valuable experience in his first full road season. He’s made some meaningful contributions in other races this season, so we expect he’ll be a strong guy for the sprint train and to do other general work on non-sprint days.
Wesley Sulzberger is a good all-rounder who can offer support to Cam in the mountains, do general work for the team whenever the request is made and look for opportunities himself when the time is right. Wes has played a strong support role whenever and wherever he has been needed this season, and we’d love to see him take a chance for himself.
Mitch Docker has been a key rider in helping Leigh Howard in the sprints this year. With that experience, he’ll fill an important role in the sprint train for Matthews.
Our team is looking forward to racing in California after a long, hard spring in Europe. We mostly race bigger more established races in Europe, so this tour is something new for us. It adds a different perspective to the season. The AToC is less traditional and a little bit more fun, and we certainly appreciate that it’s in an English speaking country. It’s good racing, and generally it’s a pretty open race, which makes it more interesting for the teams and more exciting for fans.
And the fans in California are really enthusiastic – they go crazy on the side of the road. Our fans across the world are generally a pretty enthusiastic bunch, but in the US they are also very encouraging. No matter if a guy is a half-hour down riding by himself, the fans will clap and scream to keep that rider going.
In addition to our riders and usual support staff, we have Dan Jones with us in California. He’ll be providing daily Backstage Passes to give you a taste of the behind the scenes action at the ATOC.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Amgen Tour of California: