Orica-GreenEdge starts its season on January 1 at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic with defending champion Caleb Ewan leading the five-man team. The four-day criterium series takes place around the Victorian city of Geelong and concludes in the Melbourne-suburb of Williamstown. In 2015, Ewan won three of the four races to secure overall victory but with his ambition of success later in the month and season, the 21-year-old explained that while hungry for victory he is unsure how he will fare.
"I want to win again but it's just as important to get ready for the Australian summer races to follow," Ewan said. "I don't know how my form is going to be because I haven't raced since the Vuelta a Espana. Usually I would have done some of the other criteriums in December so you have a rough idea of how you are going but I haven't raced any of those so it's difficult to know where I am at."
Ewan won the first three races this year then finished fifth to claim overall victory for the second time in two years having also won in 2013.
"My training hasn't really been training for a one-hour long race, it's been more for the four and five hour races to come," he added. "It wouldn't surprise me if my form isn't quite as sharp as last year but obviously I am still there to try to go for the win."
Edmondson will have a reduced road schedule in his first season with Orica-GreenEdge as the multiple world and national track champion looks to add an Olympic Games team pursuit gold medal to his already long palmares and sports director Matt Wilson believes the criterium racing is a suitable debut for the 22-year-old
"The Bay Crits are a great introduction for Alex to start working with Caleb and Mitch ahead of his first season with Orica-GreenEdge," said Wilson. "And even without that experience working together, they are a pretty formidable trio in a sprint stage."
Haig, 22, also makes his debut with Orica-GreenEdge at the race in a support role while Mitch Docker will again be a key lead out man for Ewan. Former Australian road and time trial champion Luke Durbridge returns to the Bay Crits and will look to add to his two Portarlington criteriums wins in preparation for the Australian national championships the following week.
Orica-GreenEdge Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic team: Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge, Alexander Edmondson, Caleb Ewan and Jack Haig.
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