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“Tour de San Luis is a great race to the start the season in a little more low key way for some our riders. We’re sending our athletes ten days ahead of the race for a great block of training and racing in South America," s...

Photo: Sirotti




















02.01.2014 @ 13:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Orica-GreenEDGE has selected its rosters for the Australian national championships and the Tour de San Luis. While Luke Durbridge and Simon Gerrans will be among the favourites to win the green and gold jerseys in the time trial and road race on home soil, Aidis Kruopis will focus on the sprints and Pieter Weening and Ivan Santaromita on the overall in Argentina.


A few days ago, Orica-GreenEDGE announced its roster for their big home race, the Tour Down Under, revealing a line-up that is capable of chasing success in both the overall and in the sprints. However, the team faces a very busy month of January that also includes the Australian national championships and the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.


The team will kick off its season in earnest with the battle for the green and gold jerseys. In their debut year 2012, the team came away with the win in the road race for Gerrans while Durbridge took his first time trial title. Last year, the latter defended his crown in the race against the clock and also added the road race title to his palmares. Surprisingly, Cameron Meyer won the criterium to make it a clean sweep for the Australian team.


This year the team hopes to take both the road race and time trial titles for the third consecutive year. While Durbridge will be mostly focused on the race against the clock, Gerrans will be one of the favourites to excel in the road race. This year the course has been changed back to its original format and now only consists of laps on the very hard Mt. Buninyoung circuit. This should favour a puncheur like Gerrans who is in splendid condition as he aims to come out with all guns blazing after ending his season early due to a broken hip.


“The national road championship is an important race, and it’s particularly important for ORICA-GreenEDGE," Gerrans said. "We’d love to have someone on top of the podium for the third year in a row. It’s a race that the team puts a lot of emphasis on and encourages us to be in good condition for. We’re going there with a really strong group of riders, and we’ve got to use that to our advantage.”


In 2013 Durbridge got the chance to wear both jerseys in Europe and he would love to do so again in 2014.


“It means a great deal for Australian cyclists," he said. "We really covet the green and gold jersey. I’m quite patriotic, and I really enjoyed the experience of riding the Giro and Paris-Roubaix in the jersey.”


As the big Australian team, Orica-GreenEDGE will be expected to take control of the race but sports director Matt White is convinced that he brings a strong and motivated roster.


“We’re chasing our third consecutive year to win the double," he said. "We’re not hiding our ambitions. We want to win the time trial and the road race. We want to take both jerseys back to Europe with us for our sponsors and our team. As defending champ, Durbo is the man for the time trial. He won a time trial the other day with very good numbers, and we know he’s around the mark. As far as the road race goes, we obviously have a plan, but as long as we get the jersey, we’ll be happy.”


The time trial takes place on January 8, the criterium will be held one day later while the road race ends the championships on January 12.


Kruopis and Weening lead the team in San Luis

While they will of course have most of its focus on their races in Australia, the team also plan to send riders to a more low-key preparation under the Argentinean sun in the Tour de San Luis. The race is a much more mountainous affair that the events Down Under and includes three summit finishes, three sprint stages and a flat time trial.


Last year Sven Tuft won the race against the clock in the team' debut at the event but this year the team will mainly be focused on the sprints. Aidis Kruopis had a splendid first year with the team in 2012 and now hopes to get his 2014 off to a good start after a difficult 2013 season.


“Tour de San Luis is a great race to the start the season in a little more low key way for some our riders." White said. We’re sending our athletes ten days ahead of the race for a great block of training and racing in South America. This is a nice way for them to warm into the season.


“In terms of goals, this is an important building block for the team," he added. "Aidis is chasing results in the sprint stages. He faces stiff competition from the likes of Cavendish, Sagan and Farrar. Aidis has a heavy race schedule during the first half of the season, and this is the start of it. We’ll support him as much as we can.”


Kruopis will have support from classics rider Jens Keukeleire in the sprints while Christian Meier will again play the role of loyal domestique. For the mountain stages, the team can count on Pieter Weening who won the Tour de Pologne last year, and new signing Ivan Santaromita who will debut his new Italian champion's jersey in the race. The team is completed by young talent Adam Yates who will make his professional debut after finishing 2nd in last year's Tour de l'Avenir and will find the mountainous course to his liking.


The Tour de San Luis starts on January 20 and runs for 7 days.


The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic

Before the UCI racing kicks off in earnest, Orica-GreenEDGE will sharpen its legs in the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic which is a race series consisting of four fast criteriums in Australia. The event offers some of the riders a chance to get some fast racing under their legs before their major objectives. Last year Durbridge showed his good form by winning one of the races shortly before his national championships wins while Mitchell Docker also crossed the line first.


This year the team will line up sprinters Docker, Matthew Goss and Leigh Howard and time trialists Durbridge and Michael Hepburn.


“The Bay Crits fills a nice spot on the calendar for us," White saud. "It’s not the biggest race of the year, but it’s a great opportunity to race in front of a home crowd and get some short and fast racing in the legs leading into two of our really big objectives for the season: Australian National Championships and Tour Down Under.”


The series takes place from January 2-5.


ORICA-GreenEDGE for Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships:

Cameron Meyer (criterium, road race)
Damien Howson (time trial, road race)
Luke Durbridge (time trial, road race)
Matt Goss (road race)
Mat Hayman (road race)
Michael Hepburn (time trial, road race)
Michael Matthews (time trial, road race)
Mitch Docker (road race)
Simon Clarke (road race)
Simon Gerrans (road race) 


ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour de San Luis:

Adam Yates (GBr)
Aidis Kruopis (Ltu)
Christian Meier (Can)
Ivan Santaromita (Ita)
Jens Keukeleire (Bel)
Pieter Weening (Ned)


ORICA-GreenEDGE for Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic:

Leigh Howard (AUS)
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Matt Goss (AUS)
Mitch Docker (AUS)
Michael Hepburn (AUS)



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