ORICA-SCOTT head to the Tour of Abu Dhabi motivated for stage victories with EwanMon 20 Feb 2017
ORICA-SCOTT have their sights set on stage success as they head to the United Arab Emirates this week for the third edition of the Tour of Abu Dhabi.
In the first two editions, the race was part of the Asia Tour however, in 2017 the Tour of Abu Dhabi steps up to UCI World Tour status and now takes place in February, having previously been one of the final races on the calendar in October.
ORICA-SCOTT have tasted success in this event in the past with Esteban Chaves claiming the inaugural race honours back in 2015 and last year with Jens Keukeleire taking home the intermediate sprint jersey.
This year, the Australian outfit return with high ambitions and confidence, in multiple Santos Tour Down Under winner Caleb Ewan, after his phenomenal start to the season.
“The main priority of the week is to try and get a stage win with Caleb. There’s going to be a good field of sprinters at this race so it will be a real test for him." said sport director Dave McPartland.
"If he can win here against these top guys then he will really prove himself as being one of the fastest guys in the world.
“We are coming into the race with confidence, Caleb knows he has good form, he started the season off perfectly so it’s just a case of trying to get him a stage win now in this sort of company.”
With these clear goals, ORICA-SCOTT recruit lead-out specialists Roger Kluge and Luka Mezgec which will be the first real opportunity for the trio to work together and build on the successful partnership of Kluge and Ewan, which established as they dominated down under.
Australian Powerhouse Alexander Edmondson will boosts the team’s strength on the flat stages in what will be his first race of the season, but despite being a predominately flat race, the four-day tour does include one mountain stage with a summit finish in Jebel Hafeet with an elevation of 1,025 metres.
This stage is likely to be the most decisive day for establishing the general classification and the ORICA-SCOTT team line-up will feature talented climbers in Spaniard Carlos Verona, Czech rider Roman Kreuziger plus Australians Jack Haig and Robert Power.
“We also have a couple of guys who get a good result on the hillier stage,” McPartland continued. “If one of the climbers, a rider like Verona for example can have a good day which puts him up there overall on the general classification, then that will be a bonus for us.”
The four-day race kicks off on Thursday 23rd with a 187kilometre opening stage from Baynounah Educational complex to Madinat Zayed.
Tour of Abu Dhabi race details (23rd-26th Feb):
Thursday, 23rd Feb: Stage 1, Baynounah Educational complex to Madinat Zayed, 187km
Friday, 24th Feb: Stage 2, Al Maryan Island to Big Flag National Towers, 153km
Saturday, 25th Feb: Stage 3, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium to Jebel Hafeet, 186km
Sunday, 26th Feb: Stage 4, Yas Marina circuit, 143km