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Two riders on debut
Orica-AIS has named an opportunistic line-up for the Giro Rosa at the end of the month, with Loes Gunnewijk selected as team captain for the eight-stage race which includes current Australian Champion Gracie Elvin.
"The objective for the Giro this year is completely different to last year," said sport director Dave McPartland. "We're taking a team full of opportunists, who will be chasing stage wins. The GC would be a bonus."
It's been a successful season so far for the team which has claimed 12 victories, the majority of which via Emma Johansson who will not be on the start line in Giovinazzo on June 30. Orica-AIS has also claimed an additional 23 podiums for the year.
"I will be looking to give opportunities to the girls who so far haven't had the chance to get results for themselves yet this year," added McPartland.
"Obviously, I'll coordinate that tightly. It's not a matter of simply letting them loose to have a crack at it. We'll look at each stage in detail to determine who is best suited to what. Over the eight day tour, there will be plenty of chances for the whole team."
The team has selected two debutants – Melissa Hoskins and Sungeun Gu – with Hoskins the designated sprinter.
Two former stage winners at the Giro Rosa, Tiffany Cromwell and Shara Gillow, could find themselves as GC contenders despite it not being a huge objective for the outfit with McPartland favouring a wait and see approach.
"I'm not putting any eggs in the GC basket early," explained McPartland. "If Tiff or Shara have a good stage and end up high in the GC, we'll support them all the way to the finish. We won't extend full protection early and then see how they do in the hilltop finishes. I expect there to be minutes between riders on the two summit days. Shara and Tiff will have to look after themselves and take risks, and then we will re-evaluate what we do from there."
The Orica-AIS team for the Giro Rosa: Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin, Jessie MacLean, Loes Gunnewijk, Melissa Hoskins, Tiffany Cromwell, Shara Gillow, Sungeun Gu.