ORICA-GreenEDGE Lines Up for Tour de SlovÃ©nieThu 13 Jun 2013
The Tour de Slovénie begins on Thursday evening with an 8.8 kilometre prologue in the capitol city of Ljubljana. With three prologue specialists amongst its eight rider squad, Sport Director Matt Wilson considers the late night race against the clock the team’s best chance for a top result.
“We have riders in Slovenia that are in varying stages of their season,” explained Wilson. “Most will have one stage that suits them better than others, and they’ll give it a go on that stage. The primary objective for most of the squad is to get some June racing in their legs in preparation for later season goals.”
“The prologue is a good chance for Brett [Lancaster], Heppy [Michael Hepburn] and Svein [Tuft],” Wilson continued “The distance and profile suit them.”
The prologue is followed by two hilly stages, including one summit finish, before an undulating final stage to close out the four day tour.
“The second stage could be a good day for Jens Keukeleire,” said Wilson. “Either he or Allan Davis could also do something on the last day. Sebastian [Langeveld] and Tomas [Vaitkus] are opportunists who will look to get in a breakaway if the chance arises.
“We don’t have anyone racing for the overall,” Wilson added. “Wes [Wesley Sulzberger] will probably be our best option for the general classification. He showed good form at the Dauphiné and he’s looking even better here. Somewhere in the top 20 would be a good result for him.”
Wilson considers the Slovenian tour a deceptively difficult race. The courses are lumpy and technical with no open roads.
“We anticipate that this will be a very hard race,” said Wilson. “The roads are narrow and twisty with repeated turns. The first two road stages are very hilly. There isn’t one big mountain on Friday but it’s hill after hill after hill all day. Saturday’s queen stage includes a summit finish in the Alps. The last three kilometres of the climb average 9% to take us above 1600 metres. I expect the riders to trickle across the line one by one by one.”
After months of racing in the cold, rain and late spring snow, Wilson is happy to see the sun shine in Ljubljana.
“We’re enjoying the good weather here after a rough spring,” he said. “It looks like every day will be dry, sunny and around 30°C. It might be a little shock to the system at first, but it’s much better than the wet and cold.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour de Slovenié: