Neo-pros take on big names in Tour of Turkey sprints

Fri 24 Apr 2015

ORICA-GreenEDGE neo pros Caleb Ewan and Magnus Cort will take on the biggest names in international sprinting, on the hunt for stage wins at next week’s Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.

Stage victories have become the sole focus for the Australian outfit following the withdrawal of defending champion Adam Yates due to a hand injury sustained at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco earlier this month.

The pair will line up against the likes of multiple Tour de France stage winners Mark Cavendish (Etixx Quick-Step, 25 TdF stages) and Andre Griepel (Lotto-Soudal, 6 TdF stages) in the toughest competition they have faced to date.

“Because Adam cannot race we go to this year’s Tour of Turkey without a real leader for the overall so we have to focus on stages,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage explained.

“Both Caleb and Magnus will have their chance at different stages.

“It’s the first time Caleb will go up against the big guys, it’ll be an interesting first hit out.”

The eight-day race has two stages, stages three and six, which will be key to general classification.

With the caliber of fast men on the start line, the remaining six stages are expected to result in a bunch sprint, an outcome ORICA-GreenEDGE can take profit from.

“With Griepel coming to Turkey with a strong team and Cavendish also with a strong team for sure, except for the two general classification stages, they will force a lot of bunch sprints,” Lapage said.

“It means we go there with two sprinters, but in a situation where we don’t have to take any responsibility in shaping the stages.

“Instead it will be more crucial to use our team for positioning in the final.”

Crucial to that positioning is 2014 RideLondon Classic winner Adam Blythe who has already worked with Ewan on numerous occasions this season, including assisting the 20-year-old to two stage victories at the Tour de Langkawi.

The pair will also enjoy support from Australians Damien Howson and Cameron Meyer, Dutch rider Jen Mouris and Canadian Christian Meier.

“With the two big name sprinters, it’s important for the rest of the team, particularly Blythe, to have our young guys in a really good position to start the sprint,” Lapage said.

“Cort and Ewan are both clever, they will work together and we will have Blythe to put them in position. I think we can go for a stage win.

“You never know how a sprint will go but Caleb has shown he can beat good riders.  Everything has to go perfect in a sprint, but positioning is key here because you have the two big teams in Lotto and Etixx, but the other teams are not so super strong like you would have in a WorldTour race.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (26 April – 3 May):

Adam Blythe
Magnus Cort
Caleb Ewan
Damien Howson
Christian Meier
Cameron Meyer
Jens Mouris