Matthews to lead ORICA-GreenEDGE ambitions at Milano-SanremoWed 18 Mar 2015
Multiple grand tour stage winner Michael Matthews will lead ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Milano-Sanremo, the first Classic of 2015, this Sunday.
Matthews announced his early season form at the Paris-Nice last week, his first race for the season, winning stage three and claiming the point’s classification.
The 24-year-old is again looking to be amongst the action at the pointy end of the day in Sanremo, Italy.
“We are definitely aiming for the podium here with Michael Matthews,” sport director Matt White said.
“He has had very good preparation over the last couple of months and he has shown the fruits of his preparation at Paris-Nice, his first race of the year.
“He has also done the race a couple of time before now, once a few years ago and once last year, where the weather conditions didn’t suit him much, but it’s definitely a race that suits Michael’s characteristics.”
The Milano-Sanremo, the longest race on the calendar at 293km, is one of the oldest and most prestigious cycling races and is considered one of the five ‘monuments’ of world cycling.
White predicts, despite the distance, the race will likely come down to a sprint. But the size of the group contesting for honours will be largely dependent on Mother Nature.
“It’s the longest race on the calendar and when you include neutral kilometres its 300km, so it’s a long day in the office,” White said.
“It should be a sprint, I don’t know how reduced it will be. It could be a 100-up sprint or it could be 30 to 40, it’s really weather dependent.
“I think if we get a wet day or final it should be a smaller group but if we get dry, nice conditions it could potentially be a big group.”
Matthews will have the full support of a committed eight-man ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit, hoping to repeat the winning effort of teammate Simon Gerrans in 2012.
Captained by experienced campaigner Mathew Hayman, the duo are joined by former Australian time trial champions Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge and Dutch engine Jens Mouris.
2014 Tour of Alberta winner Daryl Impey and Simon Clarke, the 2012 Vuelta a Espana king of the mountain, will provide invaluable guidance in the latter stages of the race whilst British climber Simon Yates wraps up the squad.
“The other seven riders are all there in support of Michael over various sections of the day,” White said. “Some guys have got a role to look after him early in the day, some are looking after him in the final but everyone has a very important role to play on Sunday.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Milano–Sanremo (Sunday, 22 March):