ORICA-SCOTT looking to make a successful return to their Basque stomping ground

Sat 22 Jul 2017

The 94th edition of the Spanish one-day classic Prueba Villafranca-Oriziako Klasika takes place on Tuesday with a strong ORICA-SCOTT squad returning to a race they have won twice in the last four years.

Victories here in 2013 and 2016 provide the Australian outfit with an excellent background in challenging race that favours the climbers within the peloton.

Covering 165kilometres and including seven categorised climbs and a brutal finishing circuit the team will be led by prodigious young climbing talents Adam Yates and Carlos Verona who both return to racing after breaks through early July.

Adam’s twin brother Simon was the victor here in 2016 with a late solo attack on the final climb and this year Adam will have the support of experienced riders like Simon Gerrans and Sam Bewley and Chris Juul Jensen in the engine room alongside Michael Hepburn.

“We have a good, strong team for this race,” said sport director Neil Stephens. “And of course we have had success here in the past, however for many of these guys this will be their first race back after a bit of a break so we wont be putting too much pressure on.”

“I believe the best way to get back into racing condition is to go hard and race for the result and that’s what we will be expecting. It’s a solid race that is peppered with climbs and racing in the Basque Country is never easy, there’s no doubt that we will be taking it seriously.

“Nevertheless we have options for different outcomes and it will be good for Adam and Carlos to have our support, but also Magnus Cort who carries such a strong turn of speed.”

Young Australian Robert Power completes the line up and comes back into the team after claiming second place in the Tour of Norway youth classification and playing a strong supporting role at the Tour de Suisse.

“I’m looking forward to the race,” continued Stephens. “It’s great preparation for the next block of racing that we have coming up and it will be good to get these guys back into the rhythm of racing hard on challenging terrain.”

“Clearly with our past results here we will be seen as one of the favourites and want to do well, but I can’t stress enough that for most of the team it is their first race back so we’ll see how we go.”

ORICA-SCOTT at Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika (Tuesday 25th July):

Sam Bewley (NZ, 30)

Magnus Cort (DEN, 24)

Simon Gerrans (AUS, 37)

Michael Hepburn (AUS, 25)

Chris Juul Jensen (DEN, 28)

Robert Power (AUS, 22)

Carlos Verona (ESP, 24)

Adam Yates (GB, 24)

Photos courtesy of ©