By Nigel Wynn
Orica-GreenEdge has hailed its line-up of riders for the 2016 season as its 'most exciting' yet, including seven new signings to the Australian WorldTour team.
In the past four seasons since the team's arrival, the outfit has established itself as a major player in one-day racing and stage race wins but has previously lacked an overall Grand Tour contender.
“One of the main reasons for the number of changes for next year is an expansion in the team’s objectives after some breakthrough performances in 2015,” sports director Matt White said.
“With riders like Chaves and the Yates boys really putting themselves on the world stage, it was time we supported them with further assistance in the mountains."
Spaniards Ruben Plaza and Amets Txurruka, Dane Chris Juul-Jensen, and young Australians Jack Haig and Robert Power will provide climbing support for Orica's GC men.
The squad has retained many of its key riders for sprints and classics, including Australians Simon Gerrans, Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews, as well as the experienced hands of Mat Hayman, Canadian Svein Tuft and Swiss rider Michael Albasini. Slovenian Luka Mezgec joins from Giant-Alpecin to help out in the sprints.
“The line-up is our most exciting to date and it shows a team that really has it all – from the most significant talent in the sport to seasoned winners," said team owner Gerry Ryan.
“With our Australian DNA and one of the most international rosters in the world, we have a team that can be there in every type of race from the Australian summer to the great European Classics and the prestigious Grand Tours."
Of its 25 riders, 11 are Australian with other riders from Canada, Denmark, Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Colombia, New Zealand, South Africa, Slovenia and Switzerland.
The squad kicks off its season on January 1, at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic in Australia, followed soon after by the opening WorldTour event of the 2016 season - the Tour Down Under.
Orica-GreenEdge 2016 roster
Michael Albasini (SUI, 34) – renewal
Sam Bewley (NZL, 28) – renewal
Esteban Chaves (COL, 25) – renewal
Magnus Cort (DEN, 22) – existing contract
Mitch Docker (AUS, 29) – renewal
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 24) – existing contract
Alexander Edmondson (AUS, 21) – existing contract
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 21) – existing contract
Simon Gerrans (AUS, 35) – existing contract
Jack Haig (AUS, 22) – new signing
Mathew Hayman (AUS, 37) – renewal
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 24) – renewal
Damien Howson (AUS, 23) – renewal
Daryl Impey (RSA, 30) – existing contract
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 26) – new signing
Jens Keukeleire (BEL, 26) – renewal
Michael Matthews (AUS, 25) – existing contract
Christian Meier (CAN, 30) – renewal
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 27) – new signing
Ruben Plaza (ESP, 35) – new signing
Robert Power (AUS, 20) – new signing
Svein Tuft (CAN, 38) – renewal
Amets Txurruka (ESP, 32) – new signing
Adam Yates (GBR, 23) – existing contract
Simon Yates (GBR, 23) – existing contract
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