ORICA-AIS name eight-rider team for Giro Rosa

Mon 29 Jun 2015

ORICA-AIS has named the eight riders to line up for the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, the only women’s Grand Tour of the season, starting on Friday.

 The Australian outfit will field a team that features four ‘Giro Rosa’ debutants as they attempt to continue the form that has delivered them six victories in the past month.

“The first goal is to gain experience in a stage race such as the Giro,” sport director Gene Bates said. “For the women, it’s the biggest race of the year and there is a lot of hype with that.”

“It’s a great race and this year it’s all in the north of Italy so we are really excited that we will be racing pretty much in our back yard.”

In her second Giro Rosa, 2015 Oceania time trial champion Katrin Garfoot will be supported to ride for a strong overall result.  The 33-year-old rode to three podium places at the recent Euskal Emakumeen Bira and Bates is confident she can continue her front at the top end of the peloton.

“We will go in with Kat trying to get a good classification result,” Bates explains. “She has been climbing really well and in Bira she really came to the front of the racing which was great to see.”

“With her known time trialing ability, it puts her in a good place to go for the overall. We won’t put any expectations on it but we are looking forward to seeing what she can do in that area.”

Meanwhile, the remainder of the team will have some freedom to go for stage victories.

Bates is confident that the ten-day Tour offers various opportunities for the ORICA-AIS line up, particularly recent Giro del Trentino winner Amanda Spratt and 2015 Santos Women’s Tour champion Valentina Scandolara.

“For the rest of the girls, it really is about chasing stage opportunities,” Bates said. “Especially with Spratty and Valentina, we have really good opportunities to be aggressive, get into some breakaways and try and make the most of it.”

“We have done some recon-ing of the Tour. There is going to be some surprises during the week so it always pays to do your homework.

“We have earmarked a couple of stages that we will focus on more so than others and try to catch some of the other teams out.”

With three and five previous Giro Rosa starts respectively, Spratt and Scandolara will provide the experienced heads in a relatively inexperienced outfit.

“Spratty has really stepped up in the leadership area in the last few races and she was really excellent at that in Trentino and managed to finish off the job as well,” Bates said.  “Well look to her to provide leadership to the group and to Valentina to keep the team motivated and alive out on the road, which she is really good at doing.”

Of the remaining five riders, all Australian, Rachel Neylan is the only other with previous experience having rode the Italian Grand Tour back in 2011.  The remaining four riders – Chloe McConville, Sarah Roy, Macey Stewart and Lizzie Williams – all in their first year with ORICA-AIS, will debut.

“It’s a bit of an unknown for some of these girls but we will take it day by day,” Bates said. “I am sure they will have good days and bad days but we are just looking to have a really good positive experience with the race and try and come away with as much learning as possible for the group.”

ORICA-AIS at the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (3-12 July):

Katrin Garfoot (AUS, 33), 2nd appearance
Chloe McConville (AUS, 27), 1st appearance
Rachel Neylan (AUS, 33), 2nd appearance
Sarah Roy (AUS, 29), 1st appearance
Valentina Scandolara (ITA, 25), 6th appearance
Amanda Spratt (AUS, 27), 4th appearance
Macey Stewart (AUS, 19), 1st appearance
Lizzie Williams (AUS, 31), 1st appearance

Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile stats – ORICA-AIS

Youngest rider: Macey Stewart – 19years
Oldest rider(s): Katrin Garfoot and Rachel Neylan – 33years
Average Age: 28
Giro Rosa debutants: Chloe McConville, Sarah Roy, Macey Stewart and Lizzie Williams
Most Giro Rosa appearances: Valentina Scandolara - 5
Total Giro Rosa appearances: 10