White: We wanted it more than others teams at Tour Down Under

Orica-GreenEdge sports director on winning performance at Australian race

Orica GreenEdge were spurred on by their disappointment at the national championships and won the Tour Down Under because they 'wanted it more than other teams' according to Matt White.

The Australian WorldTour team came into the Tour Down Under with pressure on their shoulders after they missed out in the men's national road race with Jack Bobridge putting in a phenomenal performance to clinch his national title. However White's team rallied with Caleb Ewan and Simon Gerrans winning two stages apiece in the Tour Down Under, and the latter collecting the overall honours to boot. Overall, it was one of the most dominant and well-drilled displays the team has put together in their short history.

"A big factor is motivation. I don't know how other teams prepared for the race, all I know is the effort my riders put in, but as soon as the break went on stage 1 we made our intentions clear," White told Cyclingnews Tuesday morning.

"Everyone knew that we were going after the race and we took responsibility from the very start. It was a really big effort from the team."
The Tour Down Under marks the opening of the WorldTour season and Orica sit atop the individual rankings thanks for Gerrans' overall win in the race. White used the pressure and criticism from nationals to re-focus his team for the race.

"We took a bit of criticism coming out of nationals and a lot of people read into a lot of things based off one day of racing. I wasn't concerned because it was the first race of the season, of that distance, and in January. You never really know how guys are going to go in the heat so early in the year.There was a combination of things, and not to take any credit away from Jack Bobridge's ride, but we had a good turn around. People were writing us off for Tour Down Under after nationals and that worked well for the team. We had a plan, we didn't let nationals effect us and we had seven guys committed to our Tour Down Under objectives every day.

"I think it brought the group closer together and it worked in our favour."

Although the Tour Down Under marks the most prestigious event of the Australian racing season the Cadel Evans race and the Herald Sun Tour are just around the corner. White is keen to ensure that his squad carry their form and motivation to the next events before the focus shifts to racing in Europe.

"Nothing has changed and the other important Australian races are next week with Cadel's race and then the Sun Tour. We have some fresh guys coming into these races and these young guys will be looking to continue our ambitions before we head back to Europe and start with out plans over there," he told Cyclingnews.

"A big chunk of the team don't start racing for another month but this week at Tour Down Under was watched by the other riders at their training camp in Spain and I know that they are chomping at the bit to pin a number on and race."

The Down Under success will have pleased the management on a number of different levels at Orica. They will have seen a rejuvenated Simon Gerrans, who has put a disappointing 2015 well and truly behind him. The veteran rider may have taken the overall win but Caleb Ewan's two stage wins, and his unstoppable form thus far this season has given the team further encouragement for the future. Along with the Yates brothers, Michael Matthews and Esteban Chaves, Orica have becoming one of the most equipped and successful WorldTour team when it comes to developing young talent.

For Ewan, the plan will be to race a relatively heavy programme with the Giro d'Italia on his provisional schedule. Although the pressure on young rider may increase over the coming months, White is confident that the team can protect and nurture the rider.

"We've been doing that for the last 15 months. We kept him out of Tour Down Under last year for a reason and we've given him the race programme that's right for him. We've been planning his development for a long time and if you look back he was at our training camp before he even joined the team. He knows the team and he knows the staff. He knew his plan moving forward and he's a very driven young athlete. He's proved that he's a very mature 21-year-old and he handles pressure and steps up for the big occasion.

"I think we do a very good job at developing young riders. It gives us a great satisfaction to see the young guys improving so quickly and who want to stay. We've created a team where the guys want to be here and they enjoy the environment. When you see Caleb, the Yates brothers, Chaves or Matthews, coming out of the U23 ranks and move up, it gives everyone a lot of satisfaction."

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