ORICA-BikeExchange head to the Tour of Poland with multiple options

Sat 9 Jul 2016

ORICA-BikeExchange take a strong team of eight riders to the Tour of Poland next week, with a mixture of strengths to tackle the tough seven-day race.

21-year-old sprint star Caleb Ewan is eager for stage wins during the first couple of days, before the team's attention turns to the general classification with Simon Yates, once the race hits the mountains.

"There's going to be long stages which is typical in Poland," explained sport director Dave McPartland. "The first two are pretty short and look very much like they will be sprint stages. The big goal for us is to deliver Caleb to a stage win."

"Then the two of the longest stages could potentially be sprints, however there are climbs near the final. Obviously we have Caleb for the sprints but also Jens Keukeleire is another option depending on the stage. It's good to be going into the race with these different options. 

"The mountain stages should be good for Yates, we will have to see how he is after coming back after a period of no racing but he will have strong support.

"It will be also be a good chance to test out Jack Haig and he will be the key support for Yates.

"The best climbers are at the Tour de France right now, so it's a good opportunity, a good measuring stick for Jack in a WorldTour race to see were his is at. I expect him to be right up there with Yates in the finals."

The two young talents will have a strong support squad surrounding them with riders complimenting both the flatter sprint stages and the mountainous stages. 

Assisting Ewan in the sprints will be four powerful leadout men Sam Bewley, Mitch Docker, Luka Mezgec and Tour of Slovenia stage winner Keukeleire who bring a balance of speed and power to the squad.

Rounding up the eight rider ORICA-BikeExchange team is experienced Canadian Svein Tuft.

Having raced the Tour of Poland on previous occassions, 28-year-old Bewley already has an insight into this tour and expects a challenging race.

"It's always tough in Poland and always long stages," explained Bewley. "The first days are usually sprinter days then it heads into the longer hiller stages, we've got three consecutive stages over 200kilometres so by then there will be a few tired legs in the peloton."

"The final road stage has been the same each year and it's a hard, decisive day. It's been a main day for the general classification riders and I expect it will be the same this year.

"I'm looking forward to racing with this team line-up, having strong guys for both the sprints and the GC."

The WorldTour race kicks off on Tuesday 12th and features six road stages stages, concluding with a 25kilometre time trial, making it a race right until the very end. 

ORICA-Bike Exchange riders in the Tour of Poland:

Sam Bewley (NZL, 28) 
Mitch Docker (AUS, VIC, 29) 
Caleb Ewan (AUS, NSW, 21) 
Jack Haig (AUS, VIC, 22)
Jens Keukeleire (BEL, 26)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 27)
Svein Tuft (CAN, 38)
Simon Yates (GBR, 23)

Tour of Poland stages (12-18th July):

Tue, 12th July: Stage 1, RADZYMIN - WARSZAWA , 135km
Wed, 13th July: Stage 2, TARNOWSKIE GÓRY – KATOWICE , 153km
Thurs, 14th July: Stage 3, ZAWIERCIE - NOWY S?CZ, 240km
Fri, 15th July: Stage 4: NOWY SCZ - RZESZÓW/PODKARPACKIE, 218km
Sat, 16th July: Stage 5, WIELICZKA - ZAKOPANE, 225km
Sun, 17th July: Stage 6, BUKOVINA RESORT - BUKOWINA TATRZA?SKA, 194km
Mon, 18th July: Stage 7, KRAKÓW - KRAKÓW, Time trial 25km