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ORICA-GreenEDGE and ORICA-AIS chasing green and gold jerseys in Ballarat

Tue 5 Jan 2016

With the first race of 2016 providing early success for ORICA-GreenEDGE and ORICA-AIS, attention immediately turns to the pursuit of the coveted green and gold jersey at the Mars Cycling Australia National Championships in Ballarat.

The action-packed circuit racing continues with the national criterium championships in the centre of town tomorrow evening. Then, the action moves to Buninyong for the time trials on Thursday, 7th January and road races on Sunday, 10 January.

Our sport directors preview each of the championships:


Wednesday, 6 January: National Criterium Championship

ORICA-GreenEDGE
Mitch Docker (AUS, VIC, 29)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, WA,24)
Alexander Edmondson (AUS, SA, 22)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, NSW, 21)
Jack Haig (AUS, VIC, 22)

Claiming his third Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic yesterday in Williamstown, Caleb Ewan has proven he is the man to beat in the national criterium championship tomorrow.

The 21-year-old sprinter has the support of one of the biggest lineups ORICA-GreenEDGE has ever fielded in the national criterium championship, with the full squad coming directly from the ‘Bay Crits’.

Matt White:
“Its definitely the strongest team we have ever put in the criterium title. There’s not great surprise that the goal us is for Caleb to win the title.

“The domestic teams are really ones to watch because they race criteriums quite a lot during the season so the motivation is there to be able to wear the jersey throughout the year.”

ORICA-AIS
Chloe McConville (AUS, VIC, 28)
Rachel Neylan (AUS, NSW, 33)
Sarah Roy (AUS, NSW, 29)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28) 
Lizzie Williams (AUS, VIC, 32)

Four of ORICA-AIS’ five starters in the national criterium championship come directly from a successful stint at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic where they rode Gracie Elvin to her first overall title.

Having won the final stage in Williamstown, Lizzie Williams will be full of confidence whilst the contributions of Chloe McConvilleSarah Roy and Amanda Spratt also demonstrated their strong form.

Gene Bates:
“We have a bunch of riders who are coming directly from the Bay Criterium Series full of confidence and keen to keep the momentum going.

“Like the racing at the Bay Crits demonstrated, any one of our team has the ability to contest this championship.”


Thursday, 7 January: National Time Trial Championship

ORICA-GreenEDGE
Damien Howson (AUS, SA, 23)

2013 world under-23 time trial champion Damien Howson will be ORICA-GreenEDGE’s sole representative for the national time trial title on Thursday.

Howson finished fifth in 2015, his best result a bronze medal the year prior behind teammates Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge.

Matt White:
“Realistically we are targeting a medal. Obviously Damien is going to have his hands full with Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte, if Richie is riding, but he has been around the mark in previous years so it’s a natural progression. Coming of the Vuelta a Espana and a good tail end of the season he is going to be competitive.

“Both Michael Hepburn and Alex Edmondson fell ill after the track world cup in New Zealand and being a bit behind on training they decided to focus their efforts on their track and road race training. To be competitive in the time trial, you have to be fully committed to specific training and it wasn’t the best use of their efforts. 

“Luke Durbridge is another one who might usually contest the time trial but again he has decided to focus his attention on other goals.”

ORICA-AIS
Katrin Garfoot (AUS, QLD, 34)
Gracie Elvin (AUS, ACT, 27)

ORICA-AIS will field strong duo Katrin Garfoot and Gracie Elvin in the national time trial championship.

Garfoot finished 2015 off with an impressive ride at the world championship time trial, finishing fourth just nine seconds off the gold medal, and will be looking to start 2016 in the same manner.

Elvin comes directly off her victory at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.

Gene Bates:
“Katrin proved she is one of the best time trial riders in the world last year and she continues to work hard at refining her racing in the discipline. She will be motivated for a good ride on Thursday.

“Gracie has putting in some work on her time trial skills as an area she has identified as wanting to work on. The national championships is a great place to test out the training in a competitive environment.”


Sunday, 10 January: National Road Race Championship

ORICA-GreenEDGE
Mitch Docker (AUS, VIC, 29)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, WA, 24)
Alexander Edmondson (AUS, SA, 22)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, NSW, 21)
Simon Gerrans (AUS, VIC, 35)
Jack Haig (AUS, VIC, 22)
Mathew Hayman (AUS, ACT, 37)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, QLD, 24)
Damien Howson (AUS, SA, 23)

ORICA-GreenEDGE will have nine representatives on the start line of the elite men’s road race – the smallest group in the team’s history.

Amongst them are two former winners in Simon Gerrans (2012 and 2014) and Luke Durbridge (2013) and a host of other options for taking the jersey back to Europe.

Matt White:
“It was disappointing to miss out last year, we see it as the jersey we want to take back to Europe every year.

“Last year without Gerro was a different bike race, putting him back in this year certainly swings the pendulum in our favour.

“We only have nine this year but we have nine quality guys who by the look of it are in really good knick so we have plenty of options to play with on Sunday.

“The goal is definitely for someone in our team to head back overseas with that jersey on their back.”

ORICA-AIS
Gracie Elvin (AUS, ACT, 27)
Katrin Garfoot (AUS, QLD, 34)
Chloe McConville (AUS, VIC, 28)
Rachel Neylan (AUS, NSW, 33)
Sarah Roy (AUS, NSW, 29)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)
Lizzie Williams (AUS, VIC, 32)

With seven starters in the national road race championship, ORICA-AIS also has options for taking the coveted green and gold jersey to Europe.

Despite missing out last year, they start with the experience of two former title-holders in Amanda Spratt (2012) and Gracie Elvin(2013 and 2014).

Gene Bates:
“We have a really motivated group of riders for the national championships, and multiple who I think are certainly capable of winning over the course of the titles.

“As long as we ride a smart aggressive style of race, I really think we will be very competitive.”

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