Aussie ProTeam focused on stage wins in first Grand Tour
GreenEdge has named its Giro d'Italia roster today and the nine-man line-up has been built with a focus on stage wins, specifically during the first two weeks of Australian team's first Grand Tour. The squad will rally around Matt Goss for sprint finishes, where the 25-year-old Australian will have a strong supporting cast for lead-outs, while other team members will have the green light to seek opportunities for stage wins.
"We're solely focused on stage wins," said GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt White. "We've said that from the beginning. We definitely don't have anyone for the general classification. Most of our riders will have a chance for individual stage wins, and Matt Goss is our leader for the sprints.
"I expect the team to be competitive during the early stages," White continued. "We have a strong team for the stage four team time trial in Verona. A dream scenario would be to put Goss in the pink leader's jersey during the first week - either right before or right after the team time trial. There are a few teams with the same goal as us. If we're on the mark very early in Denmark, I'll be happy."
White condiders the time Goss spends at the Giro as an integral piece of his Tour de France preparation.
"The Giro is an important race for Matt Goss," said White. "He's got good form at the Tour of Turkey, and the idea is that he'll hit the ground running at the Giro. He'll have a lot of chances for stage wins. The time he does in Denmark and Italy will set him up for the Tour de France, which is the biggest goal for both him and the team."
GreenEdge will turn to Brett Lancaster, Tomas Vaitkus and Jens Keukeleire, who is making his Grand Tour debut, to play key roles in Goss's sprint lead-out train.
"Brett and Matt are riding together for the first time at the Tour of Turkey," said White. "We've had a lot of different things happen with our sprint train already this season. Julian Dean was our main lead-out man for Goss, but he hasn't raced much after a broken shoulder in December, and a broken leg in March has taken him out of racing. Brett has put his hand up to fill Julian's spot and he's the right guy for the job. The stress and competitiveness of this race is huge and that's where Brett comes in."
Also making the GreenEdge roster for the Giro are Svein Tuft, Jack Bobridge, Fumiyuki Beppu, Christian Meier and Daryl Impey. White expects Tuft and Bobridge to play key roles in the team time trial in addition to keeping Goss out of trouble in the peloton. Beppu, who's ridden the spring Classics for GreenEdge, will help to keep Goss protected and will also have the opportunity to go on the attack for stage wins. Impey, who's the second GreenEdge rider to make his Grand Tour debut, will also be given the chance to seek stage wins.
"It's a big moment, I suppose," said White. "Every race this year has been a big moment because everything we experience is our first. We've already ticked a lot of boxes, and the Giro has always been on the list. We really want to leave with a stage win. Aside from the Tour de France, this is the biggest race of the year. We have a very motivated group going into the Tour of Italy next week."
GreenEdge roster for the 2012 Giro d'Italia:
Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn), Jack Bobridge (Aus), Matt Goss (Aus), Daryl Impey (RSA), Jens Keukeleire (Bel), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Christian Meier (Can), Svein Tuft (Can), Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu)