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World champion Nino Schurter will no doubt be looking forward to having Worlds back in his home country of Switzerland in 2018.
World champion mountain biker part of Tour de Romandie team
The Australian team has sevearal objectives which include, chasing stage wins ahead of the Giro d'Italia as a final warm-up event for the Italian grand tour, impressing on the overall classification with Cameron Meyer and letting Schurter finds his road legs in the first of two races he will participate in with the team.
The last three overall winners of the Tour de Romandie went on to win the Tour de France and once again, the race will prove to be crucial in preparing for La Grand Boucle although GreenEdge will be ensuring its prize recruit has a safe passage through the Swiss race.
Schurter joins the Australian WorldTour team for Romandie and the Tour de Suisse as his team and GreenEdge are both sponsored by Scott bikes. The 27-year-old, a three time world champion and world cup winner, needed to receive the greenlight from both the UCI and Swiss Cycling in order to race.
"To do the Tour de Suisse once in my life has always been my dream," said Schurter. "My heart is in mountain biking and will remain there. But if I ever wanted to ride a big stage race on the road, the 2014 season offers the perfect slot for it."
For Sport Director Neil Stephens, Romandie is about finding the right balance as Tour hopefuls have a hard hit out while Giro aspirants look to make any last minute adjustments before the Grand Partenza on May 9 in Belfast.
"It's too intense of a race right before the Giro," said Neil Stephens. "If the overall contenders go too hard here, they'll flop in Italy. Romandie is really demanding as it's set in some beautiful mountains, and it is raced really hard."
Stephens also welcomed the addition of Schurter to the team for the two races. "Nino is a professional, astute athlete," said Stephens. "He's the best in the world in his sport of mountain biking, and he's now shown a strong desire to try to fit in on the WorldTour.
"He and his sponsors have gone through a great effort to make this happen. I think we'll see a reflection of that on the road. He's obviously a guy with a lot of physical talent and passion. People with assets like that tend to succeed. We're looking forward to seeing that unfold."
Michael Albasini, who enjoyed a sucessful week racing in the Ardennes, will line up with his compatroit for the race. "I'm looking forward to riding with Nino," said Albasini. "It'll be interesting to see how a top mountain biker will fit into our team and in the peloton. For sure he is very strong. Once he is acclimated to the road, he will be able to make some small results."
Orica-GreenEdge for Tour de Romandie: Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Christian Meier, Michael Albasini, Michael Hepburn, Nino Schurter, Sam Bewley and Svein Tuft.