Milan-San Remo winner believes in breakaway chances over Box Hill
Orica-GreenEdge rider Simon Gerrans has all systems go for the upcoming Olympic road race next weekend. Together with his Australian teammates, Gerrans flew to London on Monday and had confirmed to Cyclingnews that he felt good coming out of the Tour de France, and was confident the five-man squad would be highly competitive at the 250km road race this Saturday.
Even though his Orica-GreenEdge squad could not score a stage victory at its first Tour de France participation, this year's Milan-San Remo winner said that the three-week race had a relatively good outcome for him personally. A crash into a barbed wire fence on stage three didn't have major consequences for the 32-year-old, and the work for team sprinter Matt Goss, as well as the challenging mountain stages have left him feeling in good shape for the Olympic event.
"The Tour de France has been pretty good for me personally," Gerrans told Cyclingnews at the Grand Tour's ultimate time trial in Chartres last Saturday. "Unfortunately, we haven't won a stage with the team, and it had been my ambition to get into one of the breakaways to do that. But looking back, there was probably only one day that there was an opportunity with no major climbs, and that was the one that Fedrigo won into Pau. I tried that day, but it didn't work out. On the other stages, it was either a matter of surviving the mountains or helping Goss for the sprints. So all in all, it hasn't been a bad Tour, but we've definitely missed out on a victory."
Considering the risk of injury or illness the riders take throughout a three-week race, the Australian champion felt lucky to have concluded the event unhurt and in good shape. "My form is good. I'm healthy, and I feel like I've come through pretty well this year. I'm looking forward to the next few races!"
Having arrived in London on Monday, Gerrans confirmed that the Australian team would "have a few quiet days" to recover form Tour de France strains, and then "sharpen up a bit for the week-end."
Even though he hadn't had the chance to see the Olympic course yet, the two-time Tour Down Under winner already had an idea from what he had heard about it - and he wasn't so sure the race would come down to a bunch sprint. "From what I understand, the climb that is going to be raced nine times [Box Hill] is going to be selective. Hopefully, it will break up a bit and become a hard race. That should suit our team as we have a pretty versatile squad."
Indeed, with several strong attackers and Goss as a top-level sprinter in the team, the Australians will be able to adapt to every race situation. If a strong breakaway including many different nations establishes himself on the 2.5km climb - which averages five percent gradient, and peaks of up to eight percent - the British squad around world champion Mark Cavendish will have a hard time reeling it back in. "It could very well turn out differently than what the sprinters expect. But either way, our team covers both sides," Gerrans concluded.
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