Having finished tenth on his Milan-San Remo debut, Caleb Ewan will lead Orica-Scott into Wednesday's Dwars Door Vlaanderen. The 22-year-old crashed out of Tirreno-Adriatico a week out from La Classicissima where he impressed the team with his result.
Elevated to WorldTour status from 2017, Dwars Door Vlaanderen heralds the start of the 'Flemish Cycling Week' which also features E3 Harelbeke, Gent–Wevelgem, Three Days of De Panne, and Tour of Flanders. Orica-Scott is aiming to start their campaign on the front foot with Ewan its protected rider for the sprint-friendly semi-classic.
"The team will be charged with protecting Caleb throughout the race. Because once it comes down to the sprint he has a big chance of competing for the victory," sport director Laurenzo Lapage said. "With Mitch Docker and Roger Kluge in the squad and both in good shape, Caleb has a strong lead out train around him and we will be staying attentive and working hard to try and ensure the race climaxes in a sprint finish."
Ewan, who already has five wins to his name in 2017, will be racing Dwars Door Vlaanderen for the first time with Orica-Scott giving the Australian an opportunity to test himself in the classics.
An animator of last year's race, Luke Durbridge has recovered from his Tirreno illness, and alongside Jens Keukeleire offers another card for the team to play. 2016 Paris-Roubaix champion Mat Hayman has finished top-ten on six occasions at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and will be a joker in the deck for Orica-Scott as well as a road captain.
Michael Hepburn and Chris Juul Jensen will round out the squad with Lapage confident of pulling off a result.
"We have enjoyed a positive start to 2017 so far and we go into this period with positivity and confidence. The squad is strong and we have excellent options with Luke, Michael and Jens in the eventuality that the race starts to split," Lapage added.
"This is always an exciting series of races to be taking part in, the parcours will be challenging and the competition will be strong, you can count on it."
The 203.4km Dwars Door Vlaanderen will start in Roeselare and finishes in Warengem.
Orica-Scott for Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge, Caleb Ewan, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Chris Juul Jensen, Jens Keukeleire and Roger Kluge.
Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel.