Orica-GreenEdge are aiming to bounce back from its Australian national titles disappointment by claiming sprint stage wins with Caleb Ewan and overall with Simon Gerrans who will be supported by Michael Albasini and Daryl Impey in his bid for a third win at the Australian WorldTour race with
Sports director Matt White outlined the team's ambition for the race which starts on January 19.
"We have multiple goals," White said. "We’d love to win the overall and stage wins along the way. I am very happy with the group we have assembled for what is always a very special race for this team."
Gerrans missed the race last year due to injury but with a strong team backing him and a course that suits his characteristics, White believes the 35-year-old can claim a fourth win to add to his 2014, 2012 and 2006 victories.
"The Tour route is almost identical to when Gerro won here two years ago," said White. "There are three crucial stages for general classification.
"Stirling [stage 2] just for time bonuses, the Corkscrew [stage 3] because it’s a very tough climb and there is no time to get a chase organised from the top of the climb to the finish line in and then Willunga [stage 5]. The race is always won or lost on Willunga. It’s not the toughest of climbs but if you lose contact with whatever group you are in, that can cost you the Tour."
The team will be looking to start the race by taking the win in the pre-Down Under Classic criterium on January 17. When Ewan made his debut at the race with UniSA-Australia in 2014 he finished second behind Marcel Kittel and with the German sprinter missing the race, he is keen to take the win.
"The criterium on the Sunday before the race, I’ll have a go in that," he said of his ambitions. “Then, I think the first stage will be a bunch finish and possibly the fourth stage, that usually comes down to a bunch sprint too.
"Hopefully I can do well in those two stages and then the last stage, the crit in Adelaide at the end of the Tour, I’d like to go for that one as well."
The experienced team, which contains four riders in their thirties, is completed by Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn.
To read White's stage-by-stage guide to the Tour Down Under, click here
Orica-GreenEdge for the 2016 Tour Down Under: Michael Albasini, Luke Durbridge, Caleb Ewan, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Daryl Impey.
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