ORICA-SCOTT with options for Vuelta a La Rioja

Thu 30 Mar 2017

ORICA-SCOTT return to the one-day Spanish race, Vuelta a La Rioja this Sunday looking to continue their successful run in the event.

The team has previously won three editions of the race with former rider Michael Matthews in 2014 and 2016 and also young sprinter Caleb Ewan in 2015.

This year the team will start the event without a key sprinter leaving their race options more open but still with high ambitions to win.

“We have a good mix of guys for the race who can go in breakaway,” said sport director Dave McPartland. “We have a mix of powerful guys like Michael Hepburn and Svein Tuft and then also climbers such as Ruben Plaza, Rob Power and Damien Howson so it is a good balanced team.”

The 150kilometre race also provides some of the team with a good opportunity to test the legs ahead of the six-day tour the following day, Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

"Michael Albasini is always a good option and is the type of punchy rider that could do well on this course," McPartland continued.

“He usually likes the hit out of La Rioja ahead of the starting Pais Vasco the following day and I think there will be some other riders doing the same thing.

"The race is only 150kilometres with one main climb so I am sure it will be raced hard but it isn’t so long.”

The UCI 1.1 race has often concluded with a group sprint with only one third category climb to contend with. 

With Movistar the only other WorldTour team on the start list, ORICA-SCOTT acknowledge that the pressure will be on and are looking forward to the challenge in what will be the 57th edition of the race.

ORICA-SCOTT riders in La Rioja:

Michael Albasini -  (SUI, 36)
Michael Hepburn - (AUS, 25)
Damien Howson - (AUS, 24)
Rubén Plaza - (ESP, 36)
Robert Power - (AUS, 21)
Svein Tuft – (CAN, 38)

Photos courtesy of ©