There is no spot for a pure sprinter on the squad – despite favourable terrain in the opening ten days, with the Australian team built around their GC ambitions. Simon Gerrans also misses out on a spot in the Tour de France, with the team deciding to select Daryl Impey, Mat Hayman and Michael Albasini for their experience.
The team of nine riders includes Esteban Chaves, Simon Yates, Mat Hayman, Daryl Impey, Michael Albasini, Roman Kreuziger, Damien Howson, Jens Keukeleire and Luke Durbridge.
Simon Yates will target the white jersey – won last by his brother Adam, while Chaves will go into the race looking to target the general classficiation after returning from a long-standing knee injury at the Criterium du Dauphine.
"Nothing has changed over the last month in that we have two different goals for the Tour. We're going there with the aim of taking the white jersey with Simon Yates. It's going to be a very competitive fight for that jersey, with Louis Meintjes and Emanuel Buchmann and then I'm sure that who ever finishes with the white jersey is going to finish in the top ten," Orica Scott directeur sportif Matt White told Cyclingnews.
"With Esteban nothing has changed since he got back on the bike in the sense that this is his first Tour de France and the goal is to ride GC. We're going to see how things progress. He's ready to do the Tour, he's never done it before, and we'll support him 100 per cent. If we have to adapt our plans during the race then so be it."
Chaves picked up a knee injury on the eve of the Colombian nationals in February and was forced to postpone his comeback until June. At the Dauphine he was understandably off his best condition but he heads to the Tour de France as a threat – albeit an outside one – for a top-five position.
According to White the Colombian climber was always going to make the plane to Dusseldorf if he made it through the Dauphine.
"There was a question mark there when the injury went on longer than we would have liked. But I think with the amount of racing that he missed, the Tour it is a great option regardless of the outcome, especially with the second half of the season and his ambitions for the Vuelta.
"If he'd just raced the Dauphine from February until August and then the Tour of Poland it would have been tough for him going into the Vuelta at his optimal level. If his knee was clear then there was always going to be a place for him at the Tour. It was just a case of what his goals were going to be."
As for Yates, he too had a low key Dauphine, finishing 13th overall.
"I think where Esteban was during the Dauphine was to be expected for a guy who hadn't raced in several months," Whites argued. "He lacked race rhythm going in but in a competitive field he started to find that. With Simon, he and we would have liked him firing a bit more but given his preparation between Romandie and the Dauphine, he was where we expected him."
Gerrans misses out
Orica-Scott's Tour de France selection means that Simon Gerrans misses the Tour de France for the first time while in Orica colours, and the first time in his career since 2009.
He has failed to finish the last three Tours he has started and at 37 is nearing the end of his long and successful career. A few years ago he would have been one of the first names down on the team sheet for the race but age, and the development of younger riders meant that the former Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Milan-San Remo winner was in a straight up fight between Albasini and other experienced riders for a spot on the team.
Gerrans has failed to find his best form this season, while the likes of Albasini and Impey have all taken victories.
"It's a difficult decision to leave anyone out of the Tour de France if they're prepared," White explained. "I know how hard all our guys worked to make the team but when we had a look at the final course, we just had to pick the best team we could, for that course."
Gerrans is out of contract at the end of the season and during the Dauphine he told Cyclingnews that his mind had not been made up with regards to his future.
Orica-Scott for the Tour de France: Esteban Chaves, Simon Yates, Mat Hayman, Daryl Impey, Michael Albasini, Roman Kreuziger, Damien Howson, Jens Keukeleire and Luke Durbridge.
#TDF2017: The team is in!
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