Orica GreenEdge name Tour de France squad

Stage wins will be the focus of Orica GreenEdge in the outfit's second Tour de France, the team going close on several occasions in 2012.

The team will be spearheaded by veteran Stuart O'Grady who will equal American George Hincapie's record of 17 Tour de France starts with the Grande Boucle a cornerstone of his career having been on the start line each year since 1997 when he made his debut with the Gan squad.

Sports director Matt White said it's a more diverse line-up for the squad in 2013, giving them more options "for intermediate stages and days in the medium mountains," he said. With that in mind, Simon Gerrans, a three-time stage winner in grand tours has been selected, along with Michael Albasini, 2012 King of the Mountains winner at the Vuelta a Espana and confirmed opportunist Simon Clarke.

"The sprint stages remain a big focus, and we bring a dedicated sprint train to support Matt Goss on the flatter days," White said. Goss finished on the podium five times during last year's Tour and it is hoped that a win will finally come his way with a line-up that is more familiar with each other this season.

"Last year, we brought together a group of riders who hadn't raced together much before the Tour de France," said White. "This year, we have six who raced the Tour together last year and five who recently worked together at the Tour de Suisse. This is a group of riders that have learned to work together seamlessly."

Goss' sprint train will be rounded out by Daryl Impey and Brett Lancaster who last week won a stage at the Tour of Slovenie.
Canadian Svein Tuft will be making his Tour de France debut at age 36 and White said he earns versatility to the line up.

"He'll be crucial for our team time trial ambitions. He's a strong guy with a huge amount of power to chase breakaways or look after the sprint train. We can use him in a lot of ways. I'm really looking forward to taking him to his first Tour de France."

Along with Tuft and Clarke, the other debutant in the squad is Cameron Meyer. The West Australian recently achieved his goal of finishing in the top 10 of the Tour de Suisse in a solid build up of form which included sixth overall at the Tour of Turkey, fifth overall at the Tour of California.

"We haven't previously had anyone for the high mountain stages," White explained. "With the form he showed us last week in Switzerland, we realise that Cam gives us an option. He can climb with a very select group of riders, and that opens us up to opportunities on stages that we've been forced to overlook in the past."

The Orica GreenEdge team for the Tour de France: Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Matt Goss, Daryl Impey, Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Stuart O'Grady and Svein Tuft.


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