ORICA-AIS have options going into Trofeo Alfredo Binda

Thu 17 Mar 2016

ORICA-AIS head back to Italy this weekend full of confidence, ready for the third round of the WorldTour series at Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

After already achieving a second place in a WorldTour event along with top ten results in every race so far this Europe season, the Australian outfit are aiming for another top result this weekend.

Sport director Gene Bates finds confidence in the strength of the team line up and the options it brings. 

"The team is really suited to this kind of race," explained Bates. "We obviously have multiple cards to play, that's the benefit of having a really strong team. We don't just have to rely on one rider to go for the result, we have different options depending on what might happen."

The 123.3km route from Gavirate to Cittiglio is a tough circuit with lots climbing. After a 52km route the riders cross the finish line and then complete four finishing laps of 17.8km.

"This kind of race comes down to the climbs and who can survive the longest on the hard circuit," Bates continued. "We've seen in the previous races we've done that it comes down to positioning, it's been really critical to be in the right position before the cobbles and climbs." 

"The climbs on the circuit are hard enough that it's a race of survival and that's the biggest advantage we have. It suits the riders we have a bit better."

The hillier course is welcomed by world championship medallist Rachel Neylan and Santos Women's Tour winner Katrin Garfoot. Adding strength to the team line up is Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten, American Tayler Wiles and 32-year-old Lizzie Williams. 

Australian champion Amanda Spratt is due to line up with the team as a valued member, however earlier this week she collided with a car while out training. She was very lucky to come away with no broken bones but it clearly had a physical effect and a further assessment will be made later in the week as to wether or not she is fit to race.

"Amanda was really lucky," Bates said. "She came away with minor abrasions but was obviously shaken up. She is seeing a physio this week and we will assess closer to the race whether she is ok to start." 

"We have a really good team this weekend, with or without Amanda. With her it is better as she has been travelling really well in training and it is a good course for her. Hopefully she will be ok."

The team has had a successful start to the 2016 season over in Australia and it appears their momentum is continuing now in Europe. Their resilience and aggressive style of racing has seen the riders represented in key moves, which finally payed off for Gracie Elvin last weekend as she managed to stay away to finish on the podium. A deserving result and a feeling which the squad wants again.

This weekend provides the prefect opportunity for the climbers of the team to have their go, aiming for another WorldTour podium.

ORICA-AIS riders in Trofeo Alfredo Binda (20th March):

Katrin Garfoot (AUS, QLD, 34)
Rachel Neylan (AUS, NSW, 33)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 33)
Tayler Wiles (USA, 26)
Lizzie Williams (AUS, VIC, 32)