Simon Gerrans will start his third Grand Tour of the year on August 22 when the Vuelta a España rolls out of Puerto Bañus, but the Australian will look to finish a three week race for the first time since July 2013.
Crashes at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France forced Gerrans to abandon the races in the second and first weeks respectively, but he will get his third bite of the cherry in Spain.
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Gerrans didn’t finish the 2014 Tour, leaving the race after stage 16, and failed to reach Madrid the last time he rode the Vuelta in 2013. While the former Team Sky rider may be riding for stage victories, Orica-GreenEdge want to get their Colombian climber Esteban Chaves high in the general classification.
“We would like to get Esteban in the top ten on the general classification,” said sports director Neil Stephens. “When you look at the line up for the Tour of Spain there are some really good bike riders and to run top ten here would be something pretty huge.
“We also want to pull off a stage win and if we can pull off one, why not two?
“We are coming off a Tour de France being proud of what our guys managed when the odds were stacked up against them, but we didn’t walk away with the results we were hoping for so we are coming into this Grand Tour with a very motivated team.”
Like Gerrans, South African Daryl Impey was forced to abandon the Tour de France with injury as Orica lost three members of their team before the first rest day. Impey will make his first appearance at the Vuelta, as will young sprinter Caleb Ewan, who makes his Grand Tour debut.
Orica-GreenEdge squad for the Vuelta a España
Esteban Chaves, Mitch Docker, Caleb Ewan, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Damien Howson, Daryl Impey, Jens Keukeleire, Cameron Meyer