Orica-AIS aiming high at Women's Tour of Flanders

2011 winner Annemiek van Vleuten, Gracie Elvin head Australian team

The Orica-AIS squad is looking for its first victory on European soil in 2016, and is taking aim at the Women's Tour of Flanders - a race the team won in 2012 with Judith Arndt.

The Australian squad has in its ranks this year the 2011 winner of the Tour of Flanders, Annemiek van Vleuten, Australian national champion Amanda Spratt, the in-form Gracie Elvin, who was second in the Ronde van Drenthe, Loren Rowney, Lizzie Williams and Sarah Roy.

"Everyone is really excited and looking forward to the race," team director Gene Bates said. "We have six riders all in very good condition going into Sunday's race with nothing to lose, it's a great position to be in."

"Gracie Elvin showed her form after finishing in second place in the WorldTour race Ronde van Drenthe a couple of weeks ago, and Annemiek van Vleuten has had many top tens this year. She has won the Tour of Flanders before, so she is very experienced and knows the climbs and cobbles well."

The women's Tour of Flanders is 141.2km and starts and finishes in Oudenaarde, using parts of the same course that the men will race over. The climbs include the Wolvenberg, Molenberg, Leberg, Berendries, Valkenberg, Kaperij, Kanarieberg, Kruisberg and the Oude Kwaremont/Paterberg duo that come with less than 15km to go.

"We've got really strong team lining up. The riders are all in good shape and if it all falls into to place on the day then we have a very good shot," Bates said.

Orica-AIS for Tour of Flanders: Gracie Elvin, Loren Rowney, Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt, Annemiek van Vleuten, Lizzie Williams

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