ORICA-GreenEDGE has announced its nine rider squad for the 2014 Tour de France with a blend of experience in youth epitomised by the inclusion of Simon Gerrans and Tour debutant and neo-professional Simon Yates.
"This year we are going to the Tour without a sprinter for the flat stages and will be targeting numerous stages,” said Sport Director Matt White. “The goal for the team is to walk away with a stage win.”
Michael Matthews also makes his Tour de France debut having had a successful first outing at the Giro d’Italia in May. He will lead the line in the sprint stages that are not pan-flat but his inclusion means that Matt Goss misses out on a spot in the team.
Four riders from the team’s successful 2013 Tour de France return with former maillot jaune holder, Simon Gerrans back with Svein Tuft, Simon Clarke and Michael Albasini, although there is no place for Darly Impey, who also led the Tour de France last year.
"I am very happy with the roster we have assembled," White said in a team press release. “It’s a good mix of youth and experience.”
Gerrans, who also won Liège-Bastogne-Liège will lead the team and White will hope that veteran rider can show himself on stage 2 from York to Sheffield.
"He is our team leader. Over the last couple of years Gerrans has won some of the biggest races on the calendar. He’s won Milan-Sanremo, Liège and a stage of the Tour de France. We know we can count on Simon to deliever results when the stakes are high.
"Michael is coming in to the Tour with a very good build-up and some of the biggest results of his career in the month of May. His goal in his first Tour de France is to win a stage and will have multiple opportunities to attempt that. The green jersey is not an objective. The objective is to win a stage of the Tour de France in his first start."
As Cyclingnews reported several days ago, Mat Hayman will make his Tour de France debut at the age of 36 and at the other end of the spectrum neo-pro Simon Yates will also take part in his first Tour. GreenEdge has a crop of highly promising young riders and White has picked Yates to start the race.
"Simon has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point,” said White. “It wasn't the plan to bring him into the roster for the Tour de France, but for what we want to achieve as a team, he’s a great fit. It is no secret that we are targeting the intermediate mountain stages, and Simon has shown in his results throughout the year that he is more than capable of great results. "
While Simon Yates makes the team, Adam Yates, his brother who has arguable enjoyed an even more successful year, remains at home.
“Simon’s broken collarbone in the Tour of Turkey has been a blessing in disguise. One of the reasons Adam is not going is because he has been racing and on very good condition since January. It wouldn't be a wise decision for us to send Adam. With Simon’s forced break due to injury, he’s fresh and ready to race.”
Tour de France team: Jens Keukeleire, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman, Michael Albasini, Michael Matthews, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Simon Yates, Svein Tuft