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“I said it would be nice if our presences was felt, didn’t I?. Imagine that. Well, we accomplished that, didn’t we?" Stephens says

Photo: Orica GreenEdge










04.05.2014 @ 20:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Few would have expected Orica-GreenEDGE to play a very dominant role at the Tour de Romandie but the Australian team far exceeded their own expectations. With Michael Albasini winning half of the stages, the team leaves the Swiss race on a high note following a week that also saw Simon Gerrans win Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Adam Yates taking the overall victory at the Tour of Turkey.


A successful week of racing in Romandie for ORICA-GreenEDGE came to a close on Sunday in Neuchâtel with the final stage time trial. Cameron Meyer was the Australian outfit’s top finisher in the Tour de Romandie individual time trial. Stopping the clock at 25’32 over 18.5 kilometres, Meyer slotted into 16th place, 42” behind Chris Froome (Team Sky), who won the overall along with the stage win.


“The main objective today was to have one last hit out for the Giro guys,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “It wasn’t a time trial that ideally suited the bigger guys like Heppy [Michael Hepburn] and Svein [Tuft] but they gave a really good effort. I was pleased with the work they did today.”


“I know there were a couple of fans asking about Brett Lancaster,” Stephens added. “Although Brett is going to the Giro, he did not start today because he requested to go home to see his wife and two kids before the Tour of Italy. It’s Mother’s Day in Spain, and he wanted to spend the day with his family. We were able to accommodate that request, so we sent him home for 48 hours.”


Mountain Bike World Champion Nino Schurter began his first WorldTour race with the first time trial of his career. Six days later, he capped off his first week in the professional road racing peloton with another time trial. Stephens was pleased to report on the progress he saw between Schurter’s two performances.


“It was satisfying to work with Nino for his second ever time trial,” said Stephens. “The prologue on Tuesday was his first time trial, and I think he was first to admit that he didn’t pace it that well. He paced this one a lot better. He obviously still has great room for improvement, but he has already shown drastic gains from earlier in the week to today.”


“Nino fit in with us really well,” added Stephens. “This was his first race with the team, and we weren’t sure what to expect. He’s a really open guy, and he wanted to help however he could. We all really enjoyed meeting him and spending time with him as part of our team.”


“He’s a world class athlete,” Stephens continued. “He’s very popular here in Switzerland. If ever decides to turn his back on mountain biking, which thankfully he’s not considering at this time, he would make a great professional road rider.”


ORICA-GreenEDGE leave Romandie having greatly exceeded the expectations Stephens outlined for the squad at the outset of the Swiss tour. Whilst he had hoped the team would make their mark, Stephens wasn’t expecting big results from the group given the objectives that had come before and the big goals still ahead. His squad surprised. Michael Albasini won three of the four road stages on offer and spent one day in the yellow race leader’s jersey.


“I said it would be nice if our presences was felt, didn’t I?” said Stephens. “Imagine that. Well, we accomplished that, didn’t we? Taking a stage win on the first road stage was unbelievable. The second road stage was even better. The good thing about that one was the strong collective effort. The third road stage was all Michael. He put all the effort in for that one. It was a fantastic week for the team in Switzerland.”


“The only downside – and it’s hard to have a downside when you win three stages out of a six day race – is that it would have been nice to have been part of the general classification,” said Stephens. “It would have been a good test to be up there, but it wasn’t to be. The three stage wins more than compensate for that.”



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