7.01.2014

Tour de France: ORICA-GE's Roster (and my opinion)

img_2014_tdf_taRiders: 
Luke Durbridge
Mathew Hayman
Michael Albasini
Michael Matthews
Simon Clarke
Simon Gerrans
Simon Yates
Svein Tuft
DS Matt White: "This year we are going to the Tour without a sprinter for the flat stages and will be targeting numerous stages. The goal for the team is to walk away with a stage win. I am very happy with the roster we have assembled. It’s a good mix of youth and experience. Gerrans is our team leader. Over the last couple of years he has won some of the biggest races on the calendar. He’s won Milan-Sanremo, Liège and a stage of the Tour de France. We know we can count on Simon to deliever results when the stakes are high.
Michael Matthews is coming in to the Tour with a very good build up and some of the biggest results of his career in the month of May. His goal in his first Tour de France is to win a stage and will have multiple opportunities to attempt that. The green jersey is not an objective. The objective is to win a stage of the Tour de France in his first start.
Debutant Mat Hayman now takes the record off Svein Tuft as the oldest debutant. He might not have done the Tour de France, but he has done nearly every single race on the calendar. It's his first Tour de France, but he is more than ready. He is a very good tactician, a calming influence and a strong leader.
Svein Tuft is one of the lynchpins in the team. He’s a very positive influence on our young guys. With Svein and Hayman, we’ve got great leadership. We have a very young team with some old heads to guide them.
Simon Clarke is a guy we turn to for multiple reasons. He is quite versatile on various terrain, and he’s a great team player. In the key stages, he will play a support role, but he will get plenty of opportunities for himself as well.
Michael Albasini is a race winner. He came so close last year to winning a stage. He’s a guy we can rely on to work for the team or take chances for himself. Alba's going in with some great form that we know he will put to good use.
Luke Durbridge's original plan was always to do the Tour de France. Some may have seen his broken collarbone as a big obstacle but he has worked very hard since his crash in the Giro to be ready. The way he worked during his recovery shows his dedication and professionalism.
Jens Keukeleire has been developing well. He has shown his versatility in the Giro over the past couple of years. He is certainly ready for the Tour de France. He is a guy we are very comfortable with in breakaways on medium mountain stages and the flat.
Simon Yates has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point. It wasn't the plan to bring him into the roster for the Tour de Franc, but for what we want to achieve as a team, he’s a great fit. It is no secret that we are targeting the intermediate mountain stages, and Simon has shown in his results throughout the year that he is more than capable of great results.
Simon’s inclusion begs the question of Adam’s exclusion. Simon’s broken collarbone in the Tour of Turkey has been a blessing in disguise. One of the reasons Adam is not going is because he has been racing and on very good condition since January. It wouldn't be a wise decision for us to send Adam. With Simon’s forced break due to injury, he’s fresh and ready to race
This is the toughest first week of the Tour de France in the modern era. The second stage in Sheffield is really like a mini Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Then to top that off, the second stage back in France is like a mini Paris-Roubaix. It's certainly got it all".

My opinion: few to say here. Goals are very clear - a stage victory in average mountain - and roles in the team are also well defined. Even the exclusion of Adam Yates is explained in a totally understandable way (and I agree). It's also a very good idea to bring at least one British rider! bravo! it's a very young guy but a very strong one. No sprinter and no GC rider for the Australian team... nevertheless I think that they will manage to put somebody in the top 20 and it's always nice.

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