Having claimed the 2014 WorldTour opener in January with Simon Gerrans' overall win at the Tour Down Under, Orica-GreenEdge have foregone GC ambitions at Paris-Nice in favour of stage wins with no time trials in this year's edition aiding the team objectives.
Th race organisers, ASO, have billed the revamped route of Paris-Nice as a 'race for the daring,' changing both the parcours and nickname of the race which is usually known as 'the race to the sun.'
In 2014 the race opens with four, flatter type stages where sprint finishes are likely which has seen GreenEdge decide to field two sprinters instead of the usual one. Matt Goss and Michael Matthews will be the designated men for the bunch kicks as both will also use the race as preparation for Milan-San Remo with the final squad for La Primavera still yet to be decided.
"The main objective of Paris-Nice this year is to win a couple stages," said Sport Director Dave McPartland. "Basically, we're going to support Gossy on the flat, flat stages and Bling [Matthews] when there is a little uphill finish."
GreenEdge will look to Simon Gerans, Michael Albasini and Jens Keukeleire for the hillier stages and the trio also have the ability to win from a break or a small bunch. Last year at the race, Albasini won the sprint for Stage 4 which is the team's only win so far ahead of the 72nd edition which begins on Sunday.
"Gerro, Alba and Keukeleire are our three guys for the hillier stages. They can get in moves from further out. They are our puncheurs. From a break, we will back them for the stage win."
Mathew Hayman, Mitch Docker and Simon Yates will all be hand to support the team in its quest for stage wins and provide the leadouts for Goss and Matthews while Yates is making his debut at the top level of professional racing.
"Out on the road, Hayman is our captain. He'll be our guy to keep the team on the same page. Mitch will be there to lead out both Bling and Gossy," said McPartland.
"Simon, racing in his first WorldTour race, will have more of a free role. He'll be good on the hard terrain in the second half of the tour and will get plenty of opportunity throughout the race as a whole."
"Although on paper it looks as if the last four stages are more for the GC riders, where and when GC is determined is a lot more uncertain," said McPartland who is sure to remind his riders that their opportunity for stage wins could be hindered by the teams with overall ambitions at the race.
"We cannot say with clarity that 'this' is where GC will happen. It's a much more open race and we need to be attentive the whole time."
Orica-GreenEdge for Paris-Nice: Jens Keukeleire, Mathew Hayman, Matt Goss, Michael Matthews, Michael Albasini, Mitch Docker, Simon Gerrans and Simon Yates
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