ORICA-GreenEDGE Hunts Stage Wins in Amgen Tour of California

Fri 9 May 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE heads to the 2014 Amgen Tour of California with one goal in mind: taking home the stage win that has so far eluded them in their previous two appearances at the race. With an even mixture of flat and mountain stages, the Australian team brings a diverse line up of riders and is hopeful of having multiple options to play in order to reach that goal.

“We are taking an all-round, motivated group of riders,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “Everyone in the team is going well and we are hoping to finally win a stage, which we’ve never done here before. It’s time for us to change that and it would be good to tick that box. The team is on a bit of a roll lately, so we’re hoping to use that momentum to get a win in California.”

The eight day tour rolls out of the northern Californian city of Sacramento on May 11, before winding its way south through coastal and mountainous Californian terrain before finishing in Thousand Oaks, on the fringes of Los Angeles, on May 18. This year’s edition of the tour features two mountain top finishes- on stage three at Mount Diablo and again on stage six in the ski fields of Mountain High. ORICA-GreenEDGE has assembled a team to contend for stage wins in both scenarios.

“It looks like a good, hard race this year,” said Wilson. “There are only a couple of definite days for the bunch sprint and the other days are really tough stages. The course suits a rider like Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Hee will be hard to beat for stage wins.”

“We are taking Matt Goss for the sprint stages and we have a good lead-out train assembled around him,” Wilson added. “We also have a couple of climbers in the team, like Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves.”

The inclusion of a 20 kilometre individual time trial on stage two in Folsom means this year’s edition of the Amgen Tour of California is seemingly tailored to the big overall contenders. Among the mentioned favourites for the overall is ORICA-GreenEDGE’s neo-pro Adam Yates, following his recent win at the Tour of Turkey. However the team insists they will prioritise stage wins over any general classification ambitions.

“Obviously Adam is in really good form just coming off his Tour of Turkey win,” said Wilson. “There are a few stages that suit him, but Adam is a neo-pro and there is no pressure on him. We certainly won’t pressure him to ride GC, but that being said he is a young, motivated guy and he’s going well. Anything could happen at a race like this.”

The Amgen Tour of California occupies an interesting spot on the calendar, wedged between the early-season Classics and the block of European racing leading into the Tour de France. Like many teams, the ORICA-GreenEDGE roster includes riders in various stages of preparation for the rest of the season.

“For a few guys it’s their first race back after a little post-Classics break,” added Wilson. “The rest of the team are our younger guys that have just ridden Tour of Turkey and this is a race for them where they have the opportunity to attack and try to get some results on the board. It’s a great race and the atmosphere here is really special; the American fans make it fun. It also breaks up the year a bit, so we always look forward to getting over here to race.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Amgen Tour of California:

Adam Yates
Damien Howson
Esteban Chaves
Jens Keukeleire
Jens Mouris
Leigh Howard
Matt Goss
Mathew Hayman