ORICA-GreenEDGE name Giro d'Italia teamMon 4 May 2015
ORICA-GreenEDGE has named a strong nine-rider squad it believes can deliver on the high ambitions of the team heading into the first Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia, which starts this Saturday.
The Australian WorldTour outfit enjoyed great success in the first part of the Italian three-week tour twelve months ago, taking out the opening team time trial to wear the pink leader’s jersey for seven days and winning two further stages courtesy of Michael Matthews and Pieter Weening.
Sport director Matt White isn’t shy in his hopes for matching that success in 2015.
“We are aiming for multiple stage wins and the leader’s jersey,” White said. “If we could achieve similar results to last year then it would be a fair call to say we would be satisfied.”
“I honestly think it’s achievable. I think if we can win the first stage team time trial we are off to a sensational start.
“Then when you look at the stages throughout the three weeks, we have got multiple options with our fast guys in Michael Matthews and Simon Gerrans, we also have a great group of opportunists to take on the medium mountain stages and even high mountains with Esteban Chaves.”
A team time trial again kicks off the 21-stage Giro d’Italia on Saturday. The 17.6km stage from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo is flat and un-technical.
ORICA-GreenEDGE is boosted by their core group of team time trial riders; including Luke Durbridge, Brett Lancaster and Michael Hepburn who were involved in last year’s success.
“We have four guys who have a wealth of experience in that event in Brett Lancaster, Michael Hepburn, Luke Durbridge and Sam Bewley and they’re the back bone to our team time trial,” White said.
“All of those guys have ridden a world title with us in the event, three of the four of them are Olympic medalists in the team pursuit and Durbo is a world champion. They are guys that handle big pressure, they handle big events and they’re really looking forward to Saturday.
“And in the other half of the team we have some strong guys who we know can contribute at an incredibly high level.”
For the fast, punchy stages ORICA-GreenEDGE will enjoy multiple options from the dynamic duo Matthews and Gerrans who will each receive their opportunities, whilst also working together.
“Ideally we’d like to see both Simon and Michael leaving with a stage win each," White said.
“We will be taking it day by day. There are certainly a few stages that suit their characteristics and the decision on who leads the team will be made as each stage progresses.”
The medium mountain stages will be suited to the likes of 2014 Giro d’Italia stage winner Weening and 2012 Vuelta a Espana stage and mountains classification winner Simon Clarke who will be given a free reign to ride themselves to a result.
“Both Weening and Clarke will be getting multiple opportunities to go on the hunt for stage victories,” White said. “Pieter has ticked that box a couple of times before, last year with us and a couple of years before he came to the team and it’s Clarke’s first Giro and I know he’s excited to race a Grand Tour in the country he spends much of his year.”
Colombian climber Chaves wraps up the nine-rider squad but, despite being the team’s first ever general classification consideration at the Vuelta a Espana last year, will not ride for an overall result.
“We are thinking more long term for Esteban,” White said. “We want to use the Giro as a big block for him.”
“It’s all still part of his comeback. He rode the Vuelta last year, with some great results and we are going to build on that at the Giro but general classification is not something we will be targeting as a team.”
Between Saturday, 9th and Sunday, 31st of May, the Giro d’Italia will present 21 stages, two rest days and 3,841 total kilometres of racing with six identified stages for both the sprinters and the climbers and much in between.
ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Giro d'Italia (9 - 31 May):