Sprinter Caleb Ewan will lead the Orica-Bike Exchange team in Sunday's EuroEyes Cyclassics in Hamburg, as many of the best sprinters in the world avoid the Vuelta a Espana and opt for a different build-up to this year's world road race championships in Qatar.
Also on the official start list are John DegenKolb (Giant-Alpecin), 2015 winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Ben Swift (Team Sky), recent RideLondon winner Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Mark Cavendish has also hinted he will be back in action with his Dimension Data team after winning a silver medal in the omnium at the Rio Olympics.
The race covers a 217km route that starts and finishes in central Hamburg, with the late climb of the Waseberg up from the Elbe river lining out the peloton.
Ewan was last in action at the Tour de Pologne, where he finished third on two stages. He will make his debut in the one-day German WorldTour race that traditionally suits the best sprinters. Also in the eight-rider Orica- Bike Exchange squad are Luka Mezgec, Michael Albasini and Darryl Impey. Road captain and Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman are part of the Orica-Bike Exchange line-up, along with Christian Meier and Australians Luke Durbridge and Mitch Docker.
"The race will be a good experience for Caleb because he will be lining up against the Crème de la Crème of the sprinting world giving him the opportunity to test himself against the worlds best," directeur sportif Matt White predicted when the Orica-Bike Exchange team was named.
"We have a super team for the race and we are all highly motivated to achieve a good result here, we have balance and experience within the team that gives us strengths for each eventuality. It is always a long and relatively steady kind of race. The parcours is usually straightforward and with technical finishing circuit that includes the steep final climb, the race has the potential to suit our characteristics."
Simon Gerrans finished third in 2014, giving Orica-Bike Exchange its best result in the history of the EuroEyes Cyclassics.
Orica-Bike Exchange for the EuroEyes Cyclassics: Michael Albasini, Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge, Caleb Ewan, Mathew Hayman, Daryl Impey, Christian Meier, Luka Mezgec.