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Stage win focus for Orica GreenEdge Tour team
Jun 25th, 12. Orica GreenEdge has named its nine-man Tour de France squad. The line-up has been built with a focus on stage wins in both the sprints and the hillier stages.
The nine Orica GreenEdge riders for the Tour de France are Baden Cooke, Brett Lancaster, Daryl Impey, Matt Goss, Michael Albasini, Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld, Simon Gerrans and Stuart O'Grady.
"It was difficult to select the final nine," said Sports Director Matt White it the announcement on the team website.
"We have more than nine riders that are ready for the Tour de France. It's a good problem to have. When picking the team, we have to identify the team goals and pick the best riders to achieve those goals over the three weeks. I'm confident with the selection we've made that we can meet the objectives we set for July."
White believes the stage win goals the team has set will allow each of the riders an opportunity to make their mark in July.
"Matt Goss in an obvious focus for stage wins," said White. "We have a lot of opportunists in the team of nine. We've said from the start that the overall is not a goal. We're on the hunt for stage wins, and we have a lot of winners in those eight other riders. They'll have every chance to show their value and class over three weeks of racing."
Matt Goss - the man for the sprints
In his second Tour de France, Matt Goss will be the designated leader for the sprint stages. Goss made his Tour de France debut in 2011 as an integral part of the hugely successful HTC-Highroad sprint train that saw Mark Cavendish notch five stage wins and the green points jersey. Goss' Giro d'Italia stage win in May demonstrated that he is clearly coming into the form required to sit final wheel on the team's sprint train and go for a win.
"While we have a lot of goals for Gossy in the Tour, his main objective is clear," said White. "He is on the hunt for stage wins."
Baden Cooke, Brett Lancaster and Daryl Impey, the latter riding his first Tour de France, will provide key support for Goss in the fast, flat finishes.
Gerrans, Weening and Albasini for stage wins
Beyond the sprint train, the team will look to Australian Road Champion Simon Gerrans, Pieter Weening and Michael Albasini for stage wins.
Experienced teammates for support
Classics specialist Sebastian Langeveld broke his collarbone during the Tour of Flanders. The accident served as a catalyst for Langeveld to focus on his form for July.
"Sebastian will play a very big support role for Matt Goss and our other riders seeking stage wins," said White. "After an unfortunate crash at the Tour of Flanders dashed his personal ambitions, he switched gears and used his recovery and return to racing to be in shape for the Tour. I'm confident Sebastian will contribute to the team's objectives."
Stuart O'Grady, who has appeared in every Tour de France since he made his debut in 1997, will provide critical on road leadership. With 15 starts, 13 finishes, two stage wins and nine days in yellow to his name, O'Grady's experience will be invaluable to the team. While O'Grady's personal victories have become less common towards the end of his career, the South Australian, who will celebrate his 39th birthday during the Tour, can still be seen turning himself inside out on the front of the bunch.
"Stuart is our road captain," said White. "He is without any doubt the most experienced rider on our team. Not many riders have more Tour de France racing experience than Stuart. Along with acting as leader on the road, I wouldn't be surprised if Stuart looked at his own chances along the way."
Orica GreenEdge Tour de France team
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