ORICA-GreenEDGE Names Challenge Majorca TeamThu 31 Jan 2013
Following a January training camp in Majorca, ORICA-GreenEDGE will line up for the Challenge Majorca in early February. Often referred to as a stage race, the Challenge Majorca includes four single day races with no cumulative results.
“People call this is a stage race, but it’s actually a composition of four one day races,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “The race regulations allow teams to start 8-10 riders on any given day. Because each day is its own race, riders don’t have to finish one day to start the next. It’s great preparation for the season. A rider can race one day and skip the next or do part of a race and still start the next day. This allows us to tailor racing according to fitness levels and season goals.”
Twelve ORICA-GreenEDGE riders will be at Stephens' disposal in Majorca to race on any given day.
“We’re not one of those teams that will come here with 20 riders,” he explained. “We have riders racing in Qatar and Oman as well as riders getting ready for Langkawi, so we don’t have an overabundance of guys at our disposal. We’ll go to Majorca with 12 riders, and with only 12, we can start nearly all of our riders every day if we want. We’ll decide what’s best once we see how everyone goes on the first day of racing.”
Although the team will likely field fewer starters than their competitors on day one, Stephens spoke confidently of the team’s chances on the first day of racing.
“We’re definitely targeting the first race,” Stephens said. “It’s a good day for Leigh Howard, and he’s prepared for a big effort on that first day. We may not be full strength in terms of squad size that day. We have two riders getting over small health issues, but I’m confident that the riders we have will work well for Leigh.”
Aside from targeting a win on day one, Stephens said the team is in Mallorca for rider development and training purposes.
“This is a good start of the season for riders who haven’t raced yet, and it’s a great race to prepare the Classics riders as well,” Stephens explained. “Part of our Classics team will use Qatar and Oman as preparation; Majorca is slightly less stressful preparation for the Classics. Look at Sebastian Langeveld as an example. He looks on target to do a good Classics campaign, and we’ll race him hard every day.”
“We want to race hard every day,” he continued. “We’re here for development, training and helping our riders gain the form they need for the goals to come. We want to pull off a result on the first day. On the other days, it’s about racing hard. If that produces a result in the process, that’s obviously a good thing, but the main goal is to race as hard as we can. We’re staying two extra days beyond the final race day, so this is a six day block for us. Our clear objective is to come out of the six days better than we went into them.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Challenge Majorca: