Orica-GreenEdge Strade Bianche team
Simon Gerrans' return to racing after breaking a collarbone in December has been confirmed for Strade Bianche by his Orica-GreenEdge team after telling Cyclingnews of his upcoming racing programme. Joining Gerrans for his first race since claiming silver at the world championships is a team with a mix of experience and youth, including Mat Hayman and Adam Yates.
"To a degree we are coming in from the shadows," sport director Neil Stephens said. "We are certainly not favourites. We haven't got any race experience here so we are going in for a bit of a hit out, but the best way to go for a hit out is to have a go to try to get a result."
Stephens added that the race for Gerrans will be about testing his legs after a long pre-season of training.
"He has taken the injury and turned it into a positive, working really hard in the gym to build his strength. He is in good shape, he is really keen to go but it's a little too early to expect a result from him just yet," Stephens said.
Canadian road race champion Svein Tuft and former Australian time trial champions Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn have also been selected for the race.
Rounding out the team is neo-pro Magnus Cort and Colombian climber Esteban Chaves
"Traditionally it gets down to groups of five or six or one rider off the front so we'd like to get to late in the race with some numbers, if that is possible, to try and perhaps support one of the young guys like Durbridge, Yates or Chaves, " Stephens said of the team's approach to the race. "If we could make that final selection, that is already a bit of a victory for us."
Orica-GreenEdge for Strade Bianche: Esteban Chaves, Magnus Cort, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Svein Tuft and Adam Yates.
Flakemore and Lodewyck return for BMC in Belgium
BMC Racing Team welcome back Campbell Flakemore and Klaas Lodewyck from broken collarbones this week at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. Neo-pro Flakemore broke his collarbone when riding back to the team hotel at the Tour Down Under in January. Having under gone cardiac surgery last year, Lodewyck crashed out of the Dubai Tour on stage three ealry last month.
New signing Jempy Drucker has also been selected for the race, fresh from finishing sixth at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday.
The three stage Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen stars in Middelkerke on Friday with a 7km prologue.
BMC for Daagse van West-Vlaanderen: Jempy Drucker, Campbell Flakemore, Klaas Lodewyck, Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Senni, Dylan Teuns, Danilo Wyss and Rick Zabel.
IAM Cycling head to Paris-Nice
IAM Cycling lines up at Paris-Nice for its second WorldTour race of the season with a strong and balanced squad that includes Australian champion Heinrich Haussler. IAM Cycling are backing Sylvain Chavanel for stage wins in the eight-stage race and Mathias Frank for the overall classification with Haussler to challenge for stage wins on the flat.
"We'll definitely get into the thick of it," Michel Thétaz, CEO of IAM Funds and founder of the team said. "This is the first time this season that we will be so close geographically to our fan base, so we will of course be expected to perform well. With this in mind, we have put together our strongest squad, our dream team, so to speak.
"We will have Sylvain Chavanel, who recently showed himself well even on the hardest climbs, as well as Mathias Frank, who is naturally more comfortable in the mountains. We'll also have very good road captains with Dries Devenyns and Jérôme Pineau. In any case, we know the competition at Paris-Nice will be spicy."
While Thétaz is keen to see his team claim its first WorldTour win of 2015, he remains realistic, noting the pedigree of the peloton and toughness of the parcours and added it still the early-season.
"Paris-Nice is a race that we take very seriously. Of course we are going there trying to win, but wins can come in different forms," Thétaz said. "This is not yet the peak of the season. We are coming in the hopes particularly to see how versatile our riders are. The idea is to see how they react and perform over varied terrain."
IAM Cycling for Paris-Nice: Sylvain Chavanel, Dries Devenyns, Mathias Frank, Heinrich Haussler, Jérôme Pineau, Vicente Reynes, David Tanner and Jonas Van Genechten.