The Orica-AIS team will aim to keep its winning momentum going in its next outing, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday. Coming off the high of three stage wins in the Santos Women's Tour last week, the Orica-AIS squad will remain largely the same, with double stage winner Melissa Hoskins opting to race the national track championships. She will be replaced by Gracie Elvin.
Director Martin Barras was pleased with the team's fast start to the year, and points to the work done last year as the reason for the success.
"It's been a very interesting start to the season because there are a lot of decisions that go back to the end of the season last year in terms of how we wanted to get into this season," Barras said. "We followed those processes from the word go, from the very first day of the Bay Classic, and we have been very very happy with the way the team has handled themselves.
"The buzz around the team is very much around that. We see the team operating very well as a unit and that's what gives us the most confidence."
The other competitors in the 113km race can expect more of the same from Orica-AIS on Saturday, with Barras promising to promote an aggressive race."I don't think it would come as a surprise to anyone that we would be keener on a race that separates into smaller groups to try to improve our chances," he said. "We do believe, and the results of late indicate, that we have bike riders who present a real opportunity to win this event."
ORICA-AIS at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: Gracie Elvin, Loes Gunnewijk, Valentina Scandolara, Amanda Spratt, Lizzie Williams
The women's event takes place on Saturday, January 31, with the professional men taking to the streets of Geelong the following day.
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