Simon Gerrans has been confirmed as a starter at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco with Orica-GreenEdge for his first race on Spanish soil since his silver medal at the 2014 Ponferrada World Championships in September. A broken collarbone in December saw Gerrans miss the Australian summer of cycling while a broken elbow at his first European race of the season was a further set back to his season. After third place at Milan-San Remo, Michael Matthews will also be joining Gerrans at the six-stage race.
"It would be great top get someone in the top five overall and it would be great to win a stage," said sport director Neil Stephens. "Hopefully a top five is achievable, although it is a really great field which to a degree is out of our hands.
"But we have never walked away from the Tour of the Basque country empty handed, in terms of stage wins, so I will be pig-headed and say that I want to walk away with both of those objectives."
Pieter Weening also represents a fourth GC option for the team with his sixth place overall in 2013 suggesting his characteristics are suited to the WorldTour race.
With half the team dedicated to the overall classification, the other four riders are all capable of winning stages on their own right which is a sign of strength added Stephens.
"On paper, all the fans will look at our line up and think wow this is probably the strongest team we have put into the Basque country," Stephens said. "But by the same token we have Gerrans coming back from injury, Matthews maybe going for stage wins, then the three guys for general classification. So who is going to do the 'donkey' work?
"The good thing we have is the spirit of our team and how well they can help each other.
"It's going to be really tactically challenging, we certainly don't want to be using our energies on stages that might affect us in other areas later in the week, but on paper it's a great team, a great bunch of guys and we hope to do well in it."
Orica-GreenEdge at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco: Michael Albasini, Esteban Chaves, Simon Gerrans, Daryl Impey, Michael Matthews, Pieter Weening, Adam Yates and Simon Yates