OGE sets out to win Tour stages

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

OVER­SHAD­OWED by a four- way bat­tle for Tour de France supremacy be­tween Al­berto Con­ta­dor, Chris Froome, Vin­cenzo Nibali and Nairo Quin­tana, ORICA-GreenEDGE is plot­ting to up­stage the race heavy­weights by snatch­ing stage wins.

OGE will field three Aus­tralian rid­ers – Si­mon Ger­rans, Michael Matthews and Luke Dur­bridge – when the race starts with a 13.8km in­di­vid­ual time trial in Utrecht tonight and in­tends to make its mark in the open­ing seven days.

Armed with a blend of emerg­ing young ta­lent – Matthews and Bri­tish twins, Adam and Si­mon Yates – OGE also has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­enced op­por­tunists.

“The goal for the team is to win a stage,” Si­mon Ger­rans said.

“If we can do that, it will be a hugely suc­cess­ful Tour. If we don’t do that, I know we’re go­ing to be frus­trat­ingly close.”

OGE has al­ready had a strik­ing im­pact on grand tours, win­ning sev­eral stages to stamp it­self as one of the most re­li­able and com­pet­i­tive out­fits out­side of teams with gen­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion rid­ers.

Team di­rec­tor Matt White makes no se­cret of the fact each of his nine rid­ers will be given op­por­tu­ni­ties over the 21- stage, 3360km trek from the Nether­lands, through Bel­gium and into France.

“We have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties right through­out the three weeks, whereas at Tours in the past we haven’t had guys who can win high moun­tain stages,” he said.

“The goal for us is stage vic­to­ries and be­cause of the qual­ity of this team, ev­ery­one will be given a chance to win a stage.

“With so many op­tions right across the board, the month ahead is a pretty ex­cit­ing prospect.”

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