ORICA-AIS aiming to defend their victory at SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn

Thu 19 May 2016

A diverse ORICA-AIS team head to SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn this weekend with high hopes as the race favourites.

Last year ORICA-AIS came out on top as Lizzie Williams stormed to victory after a strong display of teamwork from the Australian outfit. One year on, the line up is slightly different yet the ambition remains the same. 

Part of the winning team in 2015, Australian road race champion Amanda Spratt is looking forward to pinning on a number again at the Swiss race after a well earned mid-season break.

"We are starting with a strong team and we're all ready to race again after taking short breaks," Spratt explained. "We've been building back up for the second half of the season at a recent training camp in Tuscany and it's great to be back at this race going in as the defending champions." 

"We have a good mix of riders, Loren Rowney is in great shape and then Alexandra Manly the youngest rider on the team also raced this event last year.

"I think it's a great opportunity for Alex and her development to be back at this race one year on with a lot more European racing experience." 

Rounding up the squad is 2015 Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik winner Gracie Elvin, along with former Australian criterium champion Sarah Roy. Both riders have displayed great strength so far this season and are valuable members of the full Australian line up, aiming for a consecutive victory.

"Sarah and Gracie both had a really strong spring campaigns," Spratt continued. "They're also really keen to get back racing and so I think we have a very good chance at defending the victory."

"The race is like a big kermess with lots of laps including a climb which is fairly hard. It's quite a fast section after the climb so it's not necessarily as decisive as it may appear, which is something we found out in last year's race.

"Last year on the climb we were really aggressive and it really paid off, so I think we will be looking to go in with a similar approach this time round. 

"We have just been at a training camp where we did a bit of racing practice and working on the team dynamics, and so we are excited to try out a few new things that we have learnt. Overall we will have a good mix of youth and experience lining up on Sunday so I am really looking forward to it."

Santos Tour Down Under winner Katrin Garfoot was scheduled to line up with the team with weekend, however following a recent training crash the decision has been made for Garfoot to miss the race to maximise her recovery.

The UCI 1.2 category event takes place on Sunday 22nd May and covers 116kilometres around undulating laps.

ORICA-AIS riders in SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn (22nd May):

Gracie Elvin (AUS, ACT, 27) 
Alexandra Manly (AUS, WA, 19)
Loren Rowney (AUS, QLD, 27) 
Sarah Roy (AUS, NSW, 29) 
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)