Orica-GreenEdge claimed third in the men's team time trial at the World Championships on Sunday, finishing behind Omega Pharma - QuickStep and BMC. The Australian team were consistent medal contenders almost throughout the 52.3 kilometre course, only dropping down to fourth place at the second time check. Despite finishing with the minimum of four riders, team director Matt White was pleased with the squad's performance.
The Australian WorldTour team had targeted the win prior to the race but like Orica AIS team, had to settle for a place on the podium.
"It was a good course but slower than a lot of people predicted. The guys were saying that the wind was a lot stronger than yesterday and it was a grind," White told Cyclingnews.
"It wouldn't have been fun to finish fourth. Championships are about medals and it's satisfying to get one. We came here to win, like a few other teams, but some teams went too fast in the middle section, and we were steady through there. Those other two teams [BMC and Omega Pharma - QuickStep] were able to increase their pace in the second half of the race."
White will now turn his attention away from trade team duties and concentrate on Australia's efforts in the men's elite time trial (Wednesday) and road race (Sunday). The road team will be led by Simon Gerrans - a pre-race favourite after his wins in Milan-San Remo and the recent, Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. However the Australian team have been forced to make one change, with Michael Rogers ruled out through injury. White has yet to name a replacement.
"Rogers is sick and out of the road race for health reasons. We'll talk with the selectors on who we bring in but I spoke to Mick today and he's not available. It's unfortunate."
The loss of Rogers is blow. The team were already without Cadel Evans, Mathew Hayman, and Stuart O'Grady, leaving them with a less-experienced squad of Simon Clarke, Allan Davis, Gerrans, Adam Hansen, Heinrich Haussler, Michael Matthews, Richie Porte, David Tanner and a substitute for Rogers.
"We're lacking a lot of experience for the Worlds. It's good for the young guys to step up but with no Rogers, Evans, O'Grady and Hayman, they're the four most experienced guys in Australian cycling. Still, we've got a very in-form Simon Gerrans. Half the team hasn't represented Australia in the seniors but now is a good a time as any to start. We'll use either Wesley Sulzberger or Nathan Haas."
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