Keukeleire to lead ORICA-GreenEDGE in the Flemish classics

Sun 20 Mar 2016

ORICA-GreenEDGE will line up at the Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday hoping for a solid performance from the team led by 27-year-old Belgian Jens Keukeleire.

Keukeleire achieved back-to-back top ten finishes at the race in 2013 and 2014. IN 2015, a crash in the peloton after 100km split the race with ORICA-GreenEDGE unfortunate in getting caught on the wrong side of the divide and left chasing a lost cause for the second half of the race.

Sports director Laurenzo Lapage is hoping for better luck this time around.

“We have had some injuries to the classics squad already this year with Mathew (Hayman) fracturing his wrist in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad,” said Lapage. “However, the team is ready for the race and we have some valuable kilometres in our legs from Paris-Nice, Tirreno Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.”

“The boys will be looking after Jens but Luke (Durbridge) and Magnus (Cort) will also have some freedom. These races are always unpredictable.”

Sam Bewley, Mitch Docker, Luka Mezgec and Svein Tuft complete the line up for ORICA-GreenEDGE, who travel to Belgium with a balanced team of youth and experience.

This year is the 71st edition of the race, which was won last year by Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and traditionally marks the beginning of the big Belgian one-day races. The route stretches just over 200kilometres, zig-zagging around the Flanders region of North Belgium, and includes 12 climbs or ‘bergs’ as they are known locally. Usually at least half of these climbs are cobbled and come towards the end of the race.

The English translation of Dwars door Vlaanderen is literally ‘Across Flanders’ and many of the roads used in the race route will also be used in the more prestigious Tour of Flanders which takes place a week and half later.

ORICA-GreenEDGE at Dwars door Vlaanderen (23 March):

Sam Bewley (NZ, 28)
Magnus Cort (DEN, 22)
Mitch Docker (AUS, VIC, 29)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, WA, 24)
Jens Keukeleire (BEL, 27)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 27)
Svein Tuft (CAN, 38)