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“We want to win,” sports director Matt White said. “Every team time trial we go into, we want to win. We practice and prepare for them, so we expect to win. And we know we have a team for it.”

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BRETT LANCASTER

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CAMERON MEYER

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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IVAN SANTAROMITA

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LUKE DURBRIDGE

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MICHAEL HEPBURN

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MICHAEL MATTHEWS

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MITCHELL DOCKER

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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PIETER WEENING

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09.05.2014 @ 09:43 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Over the last two seasons Orica-GreenEDGE emerged as second best team time trial specialists in the professional peloton, losing ground only to the double World Champions – Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Australian squad red-circled the opening Giro d’Italia stage against the clock, with huge expectations to ride themselves into a victory and la maglia rosa in the same time.

 

Orica-GreenEDGE was the only squad able to challenge Omega Pharma-Quick Step in a collective effort against the clock, winning the 2013 Tour de France TTT by less than one second and claiming the most coveted mailot jaune in the process. The Belgian team took the sweetest possible revenge later last season, beating Australians to defend their championship title by the same margin in Florence, but it’s Orica who is expected to take the spoils when the 2014 Giro d’Italia opening stage comes to its conclusion in Belfast.

 

The Orica-GreenEDGE sports director Matt White admitted that since the team time trial victory was set their biggest objective for the Italian grand tour, they line up with a squad consisting of specialists able to deliver in that discipline. He also pointed out that the course, similar to the one in last year’s Tour de France edition, works in a favour of the Australian team.

 

“We want to win,” sports director Matt White told VeloNews. “Every team time trial we go into, we want to win. We practice and prepare for them, so we expect to win. And we know we have a team for it.”

 

“It compares nicely,” White said. “It’s a similar distance, it’s flat, and there’s one little climb, which the Tour didn’t have a climb. Except for that one climb of 400 meters [to parliament], it’s the same. And the Tour team trial went well for us!”

 

While some teams struggle to stay together and maintain desired composition while racing against the clock, Orica riders train exclusively to excel in the discipline. Ivan Santaromita and Michael Matthews are expected to be the only weak points of the squad otherwise consisting of pure specialists: Svein Tuft, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer, Brett Lancaster, Mitchell Docker and Pieter Weening.

 

“The order of the train is important, for sure. We know the guys’ qualities and strengths. We are lucky in this Giro because we have an even team. Otherwise, when you have a mixed team, where you position the guys becomes more important. We have five time trial riders and a couple of other strong guys, so it’s not such a big issue,” White said. “Cam Meyer will start off for us tomorrow. He does a very good job. If you start too slow, you lose too much time. If you start too fast then you put the team directly in the red. You need someone who’s very good at pacing for that first turn.”

 

In-form Matthews was brought to the team in order to contest bunch sprints, especially from a reduced peloton, while Santaromita will target a good result in the general classification. White emphasized, however, that the team time trial is their first and most important objective for the Giro d’Italia.

 

“Our first priority, however, is the time trial tomorrow,” White confirmed.

 

Since Omega Pharma-Quick Step roster for the Italian grand tour was for the first time in their history built around the general classification contender Rigoberto Uran, the squad certainly will miss some of their impressive horsepower while racing against the clock in Belfast

 

In such surcumstances, Orica-GreenEDGE sports director pointed out to BMC and Team Sky as biggest contenders to claim the coveted maglia rosa this evening.

 

After a random draw Thursday morning, Orica sits second in the starting order. Five minutes after Colombia, at 5:55 p.m., it will depart for what the team hopes is a pink-jersey and stage-winning run.

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