ORICA-GreenEDGE look to conclude 2015 season on a high in Abu DhabiMon 5 Oct 2015
ORICA-GreenEDGE has selected a strong six-man line up, headlined by world championship silver medalist Michael Matthews and Vuelta a Espana fifth place Esteban Chaves, for its final race of 2015, the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Starting this Thursday, the brand new four-day race is expected to present a number of sprint opportunities, but also a decisive medium mountain day that sport director Matt White believes is harder than paper suggests.
“Our priority here will be a general classification result with Esteban and I really think we have a good chance of achieving that,” White said.
“The so called ‘medium mountain’ day looks very rude indeed – an 11km climb at an average of 7% with steep ramps of 12%.
“I really do think that the Vuelta a Espana general classification riders and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) will fight it out for the race win.”
Chaves, who returned to racing after his breakthrough Tour of Spain performance at yesterday’s Il Lombardia, has proven his form is still strong, finishing in eighth place despite suffering leg cramps.
White predicts the weather will also suit the pint-sized Colombian.
“The climatic conditions will greatly affect the racing,” White explained. “Temperatures are predicted to touch 40degrees and will make this week testing for all.”
Matthews will provide an option for the Australian outfit in a quality sprinters field. The 25-year-old has also shown end-of-season form with a second place behind Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the world championships and a stage win at the Tour of Alberta last month.
“We will give support to Michael in the finals but it’s going to be a real challenge with the quality of sprinters lining up for the inaugural edition of this Tour,” White said.
“Mat Hayman and Jens Keukeleire will have crucial roles in trying to support this ambition, particularly if the wind picks up. That being said, in small teams of six, everyone has a role to play.”
Completing the six-man team for the final race of the season are recently re-signed workers Sam Bewley and Christian Meier.
“It's always nice to finish on a high and we have picked a group of motivated guys who are all keen to finish off 2015 with some great results,” White concluded.
ORICA-GreenEDGE at Abu Dhabi Tour (8-11 October):