By Nigel Wynn
Australian outfit Orica-GreenEdge is aiming for wins in the flat and hilly stages rather than the yellow jersey at this year's Tour de France with its nine-man roster, announced on Sunday.
Matt Goss spearheads the team's assault on flat stages in its debut Tour, which starts on Saturday, June 30, in Liege, Belgium. Goss will contest the bunch sprints against former HTC-Highroad team-mate Mark Cavendish, for whom Goss was a key lead-out man in last year's race.
Alongside Goss on Orica-GreenEdge's roster are Michael Albasini (Swi), Baden Cooke (Aus), Simon Gerrans (Aus), Daryl Impey (RSA), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Sebastian Langeveld (Ned), Stuart O'Grady (Aus) and Pieter Weening (Ned).
The team is not fielding a rider with overall classification aspirations.
"Matt Goss in an obvious focus for stage wins," said team director Matt White. "We have a lot of opportunists in the team of nine.
"We've said from the start that the overall is not a goal. We're on the hunt for stage wins, and we have a lot of winners in those eight other riders. They'll have every chance to show their value and class over three weeks of racing."
Despite this being Orcia-GreenEdge's maiden Tour, the roster is far from devoid of experience - not least veteran Australian Stuart O'Grady, who starts his 16th Tour this year.
"Stuart is our road captain," continued White. "Not many riders have more Tour de France racing experience than Stuart. Along with acting as leader on the road, I wouldn't be surprised if Stuart looked at his own chances along the way."
Simon Gerrans is one of the few riders in the current peloton who has stage wins in all three Grand Tours, and added Milan-San Remo to his palmares this spring. He's always a danger on hilly stages, and those that favour attackers. Albasini, Langeveld and Weening are also capable of excelling on the hilly stages.
"We all have a good feeling of confidence about our chances to make our mark in the race," said team manager Shayne Bannan.
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