“The team objective this year is to win a stage at the Tour de France,” said Sport Director Matt White. “That’s our main goal. We’re bringing a more diverse team this year to give us a few more options for intermediate stages and days in the medium mountains. The sprint stages remain a big focus, and we bring a dedicated sprint train to support Matt Goss on the flatter days.”
The nine riders who will head to Corsica for the 100th Grand Départ are: Stuart O’Grady, Matt Goss, Daryl Impey, Brett Lancaster, Svein Tuft, Simon Gerrans, Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke and Cameron Meyer.
The team will be captained by Stuart O’Grady, who has appeared in every Tour de France since he made his debut in 1997. O’Grady has supported three riders, Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre, to a total of six Tour de France overall podium finishes, including Sastre’s victory in 2008. With 16 Tour de France starts, 14 finishes, two stage wins and nine days in yellow to his name, O’Grady is the most experienced Grand Tour rider in the professional peloton. The South Australian equals the record set by George Hincapie for most Tour de France starts when he lines up for his 17th Tour de France this year.
Matt Goss is the team’s designated leader for the sprint stages. The Tasmanian gave ORICA-GreenEDGE its first Grand Tour win last year at the Giro d’Italia. He came close to repeating the feat at the Tour, where he sprinted to five stage podiums. Lining up for his fourth Tour de France start, Goss is firmly focused on pulling off a stage win in the sprints.
Daryl Impey made his Tour de France debut with ORICA-GreenEDGE last year. Equally comfortable in the sprint train as he is seizing personal opportunities, the South African will play a pivotal role in supporting the team’s objectives.
Brett Lancaster, who recently sprinted to victory on the fourth stage of Tour de Slovénie, has shown repeated dedication to the sprint train during his career. Lining up for his sixth Tour de France, Lancaster will work with Impey and Goss in the fast finishes.
Svein Tuft will ride his first Tour de France with ORICA-GreenEDGE. No stranger to Grand Tours, Tuft has twice raced the Giro d’Italia and once raced the Vuelta a España. The eight time Canadian National Time Trial Champion earned his spot on the team’s Tour squad in large part due to his versatility.
Beyond the sprint train, the team will look to a group of opportunists who will target key stages that suit their various strengths.
Simon Gerrans snagged four wins last year, including the Tour Down Under overall and Milan-Sanremo. He has backed up last season’s success with three stage victories in the first six months of the 2013 season. Gerrans is the first Australian to win a stage at all three Grand Tours. He hopes to add a second Tour de France victory is his ever-growing palmarès in his eighth start.
Michael Albasini is a solid all-rounder with a gritty style of racing that has netted him six wins in the last 18 months. Most recently, Albasini took a hometown win from a small group sprint at GP Gippingen. A Tour de France win has eluded Albasini, who lines up for his fifth start eager to change that.
Simon Clarke raced his first Grand Tour with ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Vuelta a España last year. Most riders hope to survive their first Grand Tour. Clarke thrived. He won the mountains classification and one stage, giving ORICA-GreenEDGE its second Grand Tour stage victory.
Cameron Meyer rounds out the nine man squad. The Western Australian recently finished tenth in the Tour de Suisse overall after winning the stage one time trial and spending two days in yellow. Meyer has four Grand Tour starts and two finishes to his name. This will be his first Tour de France.
White believes the team’s nine riders provide the best possible opportunity to secure a stage victory during their three weeks in France.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for the Tour de France: