Options for ORICA-GreenEDGE at diverse Paris-NiceWed 4 Mar 2015
Paris-Nice offers a bit of everything throughout its eight-day Tour starting this Sunday, and fittingly ORICA-GreenEDGE name a versatile squad with options to tackle it.
2015 sees the return of the opening prologue and final stage time trial, and in between the racing action takes on early flat bunch sprint stages, lumpy select group opportunities and a telling stage four mountain top challenge.
In his first race for the season Grand Tour stage winner Michael Matthews looms dangerous in the select punchy sprint finishes, whilst opportunists Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke and Jens Keukeleire will be given the freedom to hunt.
“Stages five and six are stages that can suit us,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said. “Albasini, Clarke and Jens Keukeleire, those guys will be free to go in the breakaway and if it comes together we will go for Bling (Matthews).”
“Those stages will suit us more to go to for the win because in my opinion the first three days will be a bunch sprint.
“When you look at the race, we don’t have the fastest guy on those flat stage so we don’t have to take responsibility early in the race to control. It will be more important in the first three days for guys like Bling to get back into the racing environment again.“
The fourth stage, which finishes atop Croix de Chaubouret, will be decisive for general classification contenders, including ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Simon Yates.
“There is one thing for sure and that is our leader for the overall will be Simon Yates,” Lapage said.
“All of the team will help Simon to start the climb in a perfect position on stage four. If we can have Clarkey stay around him as long as possible it will be perfect and then, of course as a mountain top finish, once he is in a good position to start the climb it is up to him to show how the legs are.”
After its absence in 2014, the deciding stage has reverted back to a closing time trial. Far from a typical race against the clock, the time trial is an uphill drag for the entirety of the 9.5km challenge.
“The last time trial is a climbing time trial, you cannot compare it to a normal time trial,” Lapage said.
“The stage four mountain top will already show the guys who are climbing the best so the overall will be all but set. I can’t see they are going to lose so much time because again they need to climb in the last day also."
ORICA-GreenEDGE at Paris-Nice (8 – 15 March 2015):