ORICA-GreenEDGE exceed expectations with third in Vuelta a Espana opening team time trial

Sat 23 Aug 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE has exceeded expectations on the first stage of the Vuelta a España, finishing third in the team time trial this evening.

The nine-man line up had conservative goals of a top-ten finish as they rode in support of their first ever grand tour general classification consideration, 24-year-old Colombian Esteban Chaves.

“The boys did extremely well,” sport director Neil Stephens said.

“The main priority was to stay together to try to make a bit of a difference in the time for Esteban.

“Straight after the finish, we were a little bit down but then we started to see the times we had done against the times of our rivals and we soon realised that it is quite easy to make some mistakes when you are going as fast as we were.

“When you look at the times, it was a fantastic ride, well above what was expected and it was a bit of an indication of how good the guys are going.

“I knew we were going well, I knew that they had trained well and I knew the tactics were going to be there but I didn’t really think the stage was in our grasp.”

The opening 12.7km race against the clock was fast and furious, teams maneuvering a massive 22 roundabouts on a technical course destined to challenge even the stronger outfits.

Despite not considering themselves a podium chance as they focused on the bigger picture, Stephens said the entire team had worked extremely well together in the past few days.

“That was actually good because it took a little bit of pressure off us,” Stephens said.

“The boys went out and rode as fast as they could, they didn’t take any risks and just went out there and did the job.

“The result of the stage is not only an indication of good form but also the professional attitude these riders and staff have had over the last few days leading up to the stage.

“Over training in the last couple of days we identified the stronger points in the team and the weaker points in the team and tried to get the benefits out of each of those elements by using the weaker points to support the team but have the bigger stronger guys working hard to benefit the team.

“It’s not one way with us telling the riders what is going to happen, we had a lot of interaction with the boys, they are really good at their job and together we came up with the plan and it was carried out well.”

Tomorrow, the Vuelta a España continues with the first road stage, a predominantly flat 174.4km journey from Algeciras to San Fernando.  Wind is tipped to play a factor throughout the stage on a day looking to suit the speedsters.