Caleb Ewan will have the full backing of the Orica-Scott squad to defend his EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg title. The Australian was awarded the win last year after Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was relegated for deviating from his line.
In 2017, the 23-year-old is aiming to cross the line first and raise his arms in triumphs. Lead out men Luka Mezgec and Roger Kluge will be counted in to drop off Ewan in prime position with Daryl Impey, Michael Hepburn, and Alex Edmondson also with important roles for the sprint finale.
"Every year the race has finished with a sprint. The main pressure will be on Bora-Hansgrohe with the in-form man of August, Peter Sagan. It is the only WorldTour event in Germany and they also has Sam Bennet who just won two stages in the Tour of Czech, so they will be team to beat," sports director Matt White explained. "It's 230kilometres with hardly any climbing on the circuit, however the weather could be the main deciding factor that could effect the outcome of the race. We have balance and experience within the team that gives us strengths for each eventuality."
The road captain for the race will be Mat Hayman with third place finishers from 2014, Simon Gerrans, rounding out the squad.
Ewan is yet to reach the 11 wins of his 2015 haul but in 2017 has reached a new level of consistency with all seven wins coming at WorldTour level. The Australian claimed a maiden Giro d'Italia stage in May and returned to racing at the Tour de Pologne in August where he won a stage. Ewan also won a stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour and claimed four stage wins at the Tour Down Under.
White added that with Ewan's speed, he is confident his sprinter can outkick his rivals at the finish line but the team needs to ensure he is in position throughout the technical run in.
"I think Caleb is in good condition to win it again if he gets a clear run at the finish. If it comes down to pure speed against speed, and if Caleb is fresh then he can beat almost anyone," he said. "The main thing with this sprint is it is pretty tricky, it's in a city and it gets narrow with around one kilometre to go."
Should Ewan defend his title, he will need to get the better of in-form rival European champion Alexander Kristoff, while Bouhanni returns to the race with his Cofidis team eyeing off redemption.
Orica-Scott for EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg: Alexander Edmondson, Caleb Ewan, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Daryl Impey, Roger Kluge and Luka Mezgec.
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