Orica-GreenEdge sports director Neil Stephens has suggested the Australian-based team may diversify its outlook next season with many riders up for contract at the end of this year.
Since its inception in 2012 the outfit has targeted the Classics and stage wins primarily through leaders Simon Gerrans and Matt Goss.
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Gerrans has by in large focused on success in spring, and specifically the Ardennes, whilst Goss has led the team at Grand Tours including the Giro d’Italia where he is currently competing.
“The main riders in the team it would be great to keep on supporting them. But more than riders, it’s about the variety of races we’re able to target,” Stephens told Cycling Weekly in Italy.
“Up until now we’ve been really going for just one day races, and even when we go to a Grand Tour we’re just going for one day races in those races. We’ve come into the cycling world to try and do well in the races we knew we could naturally do well in. So we might try to go out and do will in races that we haven’t done well in, in the past.”
How drastically the outlook may or may not change remains to be seen. Stephens didn’t go as far to say a general classification rider could join the fold.
“I think everyone being honest if we go to a normal stage, a flat stage, a bit of a lumpy stage we’re present. When we get to big mountain stages we’re not,” Stephens said.
“Maybe we’ll start to play around – as we’re doing here a little bit to a degree – get to a lumpier day, even a bit harder day, Pieter Weening is there, maybe some more riders around there so we’re present in more stages.”
Weening was in a breakaway that animated the first part of today’s 238km medium mountain stage to Ivrea, which Benat Intxausti (Movistar) won. It followed the second and final rest day of the tour that has five days remaining.
Goss is more a versatile – than pure – sprinter but will have another opportunity to snare his first stage win of the race tomorrow with a 214km flat run from Caravaggio to Vicenza. German John Degenkolb (Argo-Shimano) won one of the seven flat stages available this year before retiring in the second week. Current maglia rossa Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has taken four.
Goss has been suffering from flu symptoms and lost pilot Leigh Howard to a crash in stage six. Cavendish will be without Gert Steegmans, who did not start the 14th stage due to a stomach ailment, tomorrow.