Orica-GreenEdge confirm opening weekend team

Orica-GreenEdge makes it first appearance at the 'opening weekend' double of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne for three years, naming a balanced squad of youth and experience. Seasoned classics campaigner Mat Hayman and Jens Keukeleire will lead the team at the Belgian classics while Chris Juul Jensen makes his debut with the team and neo-pros Alexander Edmondson and Caleb Ewan are handed their first starts in the classics.

"Of course we have a plan going into the races," said sports director Laurenzo Lapage. "We have trained very well and will arrive at the start completely prepared."

The team heads to Belgium following a training camp in South Africa which Lapaga believes will be beneficial to Orica-GreenEdge's ambitions at the two races.

"Coming directly from the South African climate to Northern Europe can be a bit of a shock. However, the most important thing for us is that we carry the good feeling within the team into these races. It would be great to get a result, we will see," Lapage said.

Magnus Cort, Luke Durbridge and Sam Bewley have also been selected for the race, as has Mitch Docker.

"Het Nieuwsblad is a totally different race to Kuurne, we will have two protected riders with Jens Keukeleire and Mathew Hayman. Sam Bewley, Mitch Docker and Alex Edmondson will be riding for the two leaders," Lapage added.

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Ewan, who won two stages of the Tour Down Under and one at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour over the Australian Summer, will ride the sprint-friendly classic Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with the emphasis on experience for the 21-year-old.

"For Kuurne we will start with the same idea as with Het Nieuwsblad but with Ewan coming into the team," said Lapage. "For sure he will have a protected role after doing so well for us already this year."

"As a young rider it's important that he gains some experience in these kind of races, without any additional pressure."

 The team will decide which rider is omitted for the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne following the conclusion of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Orica-GreenEdge for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad/Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (27-28 Feb): Sam Bewley, Magnus Cort, Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge, Alex Edmondson, Caleb Ewan (Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne only), Mathew Hayman, Chris Juul Jensen, and Jens Keukeleire. 

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