Gerrans, Matthews and Adam Yates headline Orica-GreenEdge's Tour de France team

Australian team aiming for stage wins

Australian WorldTour team Orica-GreenEdge have announced its nine-rider team for the Tour de France with the objective of claiming stage wins with Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews and Adam Yates.

"We have a great degree of flexibility, experience and talent in the team for the Tour. I am happy with the combination of riders and it gives us an exciting mix of options for the three weeks ahead," said sports director Matt White. "Our objective is to target stage wins and we will be approaching every day like it's a classic. We have a robust, versatile roster that can cope with the big effort required to compete and win in the Tour de France."

The 2013 Tour was Orica-GreenEdge's most successful yet with Gerrans wining stage 3, followed by team time trial success the next day that put Gerrans into the yellow jersey for two days handing the leader's jersey to Daryl Impey. Gerrans also won a stage of the Tour back in 2008 and will be key to Orica-GreenEdge's ambitions as White explained.

"Simon (Gerrans) has the most experience at the Tour de France for Orica-GreenEdge with stage wins in 2013 and 2008 and we will be looking to him to increase that tally," he said. "Simon has had great preparation throughout June with stints at altitude and racing at the Dauphine. He performs very well under pressure and has the ability to come up with the goods when the big goals are set."

Matthews will be hoping his Tour will be an improvement upon his 2015 debut when he crashed heavily on stage 3, suffering several broken ribs, and he can add a Tour win to his Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana stage wins.

"For Michael (Matthews) last year’s Tour was somewhat of a disaster, fracturing his ribs on day two," said White. "Even with these unfortunate problems Michael soldiered on bravely which ultimately gave him valuable experience to show how far he could push certain barriers. He is super motivated to perform well here for the first time on the biggest stage in the world."

While Simon Yates misses the race due to a four-month doping ban after testing positive for Terbutaline, Adam Yates makes his second appearance at the race and will aim for stage wins in the mountains.

"Adam (Yates) will be our guy for the mountains. There is no pressure to compete for the overall, that’s not our objective. One door closes and another opens, there are lots of stages that will suit Adam in this years race," said White. "He is only 23 and this is a vital part of Adam’s progression. He is versatile and can go head to head with the best of the climbers and this experience will be important for him."

Ruben Plaza, a stage winner at last years race, has been selected for the Tour after his Giro performance in which he helped Esteban Chaves to second overall will be on hand for Yates.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege runner-up Michael Albasini and Impey will primarily assist Gerrans and Matthews but add depth to the squad and possible alternatives for stage wins. Luke Durbridge has also been named in the squad for his third Tour while Chris Juul Jensen makes debut at the French grand tour.

Completing the squad is Paris-Roubaix winner Mat Hayman with the 38-year-old to act as the team road captain.

The 2016 Tour de France starts July 2 with a 188km stage from to Mont Saint-Michel to Utah Beach.

Orica-GreenEdge for the Tour de France:Michael Albasini, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Daryl Impey, Chris Juul-Jensen, Michael Matthews,Ruben Plaza andAdam Yates. 

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