Orica-GreenEdge head to the UAE for the Abu Dhabi Tour with Michael Matthews and Esteban Chaves as its two leaders for its final race of the 2015 season with the parcours suited to both riders. The four day race features several sprint opportunities for the likes of Matthews and recently crowned world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) although the team are looking for overall success with Chaves, highlighting stage 3 as the most decisive in the battle for GC.
"Our priority here will be a general classification result with Esteban and I really think we have a good chance of achieving that," sport director Matt White said. "The so called 'medium mountain' day looks very rude indeed – an 11km climb at an average of 7% with steep ramps of 12%.
"I really do think that the Vuelta a Espana general classification riders and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) will fight it out for the race win."
Chaves was eighth at Sunday's Il Lombardia with cramps hindering his ambitions for victory in the Italian monument. White added the 25-year-old recent results, coupled with the predicted warm weather, should see Chaves challenging for overall honours.
"The climatic conditions will greatly affect the racing," he said. "Temperatures are predicted to touch 40 degrees and will make this week testing for all."
Supporting Matthews' bid to continue his run of winning a stage in all but one stage race he's started in 2015 will be classics riders Mat Hayman and Jens Keukeleire with their expertise of riding in the crosswinds crucial for the 25-year-old to get the better of Tom Boonen, Marcel Kittel and Sagan.
"We will give support to Michael in the finals but it’s going to be a real challenge with the quality of sprinters lining up for the inaugural edition of this Tour," White said.
Sam Bewley and Christian Meier, who both re-signed for two season, complete the team.
BMC Racing are backing Philippe Gilbert for his fifth win of the season in Abu Dhabi where the team will also be recognised for its world championships team time trial title at the UCI Cycling Gala. Gilbert was fourth at the Dubai Tour in February of this season and has finished fourth and seventh in his last two stage races.
Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato, both members of the team time trial winning squad, also make to the trip to the gulf state along with fellow Italian neo-pro Manuel Senni. Swiss national champion Danilo Wyss offers an option for breakaway success across the four days while Marcus Burghardt will be an important road captain with his classics and middle east racing experience.
Orica-GreenEdge for Abu Dhabi Tour: Sam Bewley, Esteban Chaves, Mathew Hayman, Jens Keukeleire, Michael Matthews and Christian Meier.
BMC Racing for Abu Dhabi Tour: Marcus Burghardt, Philippe Gilbert, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Manuel Senni and Danilo Wyss.