Orica-GreenEdge have won a silver medal in the last two editions of the world team time trial championships but hope their powerful time trial experts and a specific combined racing and training programme can give the Australian team an edge on main rivals BMC and Etixx-QuickStep.
BMC dominated the event in 2014 in Ponferrada, Spain, beating Orica-GreenEdge by 32 seconds, but directeur sportif Matt White is confident this year’s race will be a lot closer.
“We are aiming at winning the event. But you will be able to throw a blanket over the teams which make the podium,” White predicted when Orica-GreenEdge announced the names of their six riders. “There is at least three teams that have the ability to win on the day. It will be a great battle in an event that really does epitomise teamwork.”
Hepburn, Durbridge, Tuft and Mouris were all part of the 2014 Orica-GreenEdge team, while Matthews and Bewley were part of the team that won the opening team time trial stage at this year’s Giro d’Italia.
The men’s and women’s team time trial events kick off the 2015 World Championships on Sunday, Septmber 20. The race on a 38.8km relatively flat course south of Richmond.
“The course is fast. It’s not a technical course and we are happy with the profile for the team we have prepared,” White said.
“We had half the team at the Tour de France and the others doing altitude in July this year. Then we lined up their programs to all have a very similar lead in period with a camp at the end of last Month and then the entire team in (the Tour of) Alberta together. It's been a good build up and we are happy with where we are coming into the event.”
The Orica-GreenEdge team also confirmed that Hepburn will stay with the team for a further two years, with the aim of riding for Australian in the team pursuit at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“With Rio on the horizon the track certainly does come back in the picture,” Hepburn said. “With the support of Cycling Australia and Orica-GreenEdge my goal is to make the team pursuit team so we can see what is possible to achieve.
“Then on the road I am very motivated to have a big summer in Australia followed by another crack at the Giro, where I have some personal goals but also in support of our developing general classification ambitions,” he said after the announcement.
“It was an easy decision. I am very comfortable here working with my close friends and staff and I’m looking forward to spending a few more as well. Both of my Giro experiences have been real highlights so far. To achieve the results we did in such a great environment where I could perform and enjoy doing it. Working in with the team time trial boys in those two races was also very rewarding. Winning two years in a row was a very memorable part of my career so far.”
White said Orica-GreenEdge is pleased to support the Queenslander rider’s Olympic ambitions.
“Michael has two goals next year,” White said. “One is on the road and there are some big goals for him there, but obviously the second part of the season is going to be about trying to become Olympic champion in Rio. We are fully supportive of his track ambitions and we are confident what he has done in the last couple of years on the road has added to his repertoire for both disciplines going forward.”