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“It’s a big race for us to try to win. We want the jersey, on whose shoulder is irrelevant, but at the end of the day we are not the favourites anymore.”

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CAMERON MEYER

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DAMIEN HOWSON

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LEIGH HOWARD

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LUKE DURBRIDGE

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MATHEW HAYMAN

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MICHAEL HEPBURN

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MITCHELL DOCKER

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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NATIONAL CHAMPIONSSHIPS

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SIMON CLARKE

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06.01.2015 @ 13:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In the past, Orica-GreenEDGE have dominated the Australian National Championships. Despite the loss of Simon Gerrans due to a broken collarbone, the team aims to again take several titles.

 

With the first race of the season – the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic - a successful one for ORICA-GreenEDGE, attention immediately turns to the Cycling Australia Road National Championships.

 

The national criterium championship in the centre of Ballarat will kick off racing tomorrow evening before the big engines race against the clock in the time trial on Thursday.  The weekend's action moves to the famous Buninyong circuit for the road races, elite women on Saturday and the final championship, elite men on Sunday, 11 January.

 

National criterium championships – Wed 7 January

 

ORICA-GreenEDGE
  -  Caleb Ewan
  -  Leigh Howard

 

Crowned champion of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic for the second time on Monday, Caleb Ewan has shown that he is carrying strong form into the national championships.

But numbers will be against him, with just one support rider in multiple track world champion Leigh Howard, and options limited for the duo to grab the race by the horns, sport director Matt White explains.

 

“Caleb was dominating the Bay Crits but the national criterium will be the next level up,” White said.

 

“They will certainly be out numbered. Caleb, I think, is definitely the fastest guy racing but they are going to have to ride a very intelligent race and the right scenarios are going to have to line up for him to be able to win.

 

“He will have some pretty stiff competition. The national champions jersey carries a lot of weight for our Aussie NRS teams with a great deal of their racing being in the criterium format.”

 

 

National time trial championships – Thu 8 January

 

ORICA-GreenEDGE
  -  Luke Durbridge
  -  Michael Hepburn
  -  Damien Howson

 

It’s hard not to be impressed with the start list of the elite men’s time trial national championship and ORICA-GreenEDGE expect to be right up amongst it.

 

Luke Durbridge (2012 and 2013) and Michael Hepburn(2014) have both won the title before and they want it back.

 

“This is by far and away the best field ever assembled for an Aussie time trial championship and it’s a big call, but I actually think there is no national time trial title anywhere in the world that would have this level of depth,” White said.

 

“Durbridge, based on his recent training, is going really strongly and could do it and Hepburn is such a calculating athlete, he knows exactly how to get the most out of himself on the day. While Howson has prepared well and is also keen to make his mark in such a star studded field.”

 

“I think Rohan Dennis is the favourite, especially with him putting his hand up for the world hour record in three weeks time, but I expect all of our guys to be in the mix for medals.”

 

 

National road race championships – Sat 10 and Sun 11 January

 

ORICA-GreenEDGE
- Simon Clarke
- Mitch Docker
- Luke Durbridge
- Caleb Ewan
- Mathew Hayman
- Michael Hepburn
- Damien Howson
- Cameron Meyer

 

This year’s road race presents the opportunity for a ORICA-GreenEDGE rider to step up following the withdrawal of the ever-reliable Simon Gerrans.

 

The 2014 champion’s absence, combined with a lack of numbers will see ORICA-GreenEDGE enter the race as underdogs for the first time in the team’s short history.

 

Former world champion Cadel Evans is motivated for a victory ahead of his pending retirement and will enter Sunday’s race as one of the favourites whilst Ritchie Porte is also expected to contest for the jersey.

 

"It was a big blow not to have Gerrans but it’s a chance for our other guys to step up,” White said.

 

“We have got multiple options, guys who can win the bike race, and we are just going to ride intelligently to get that job done.

 

“It’s a big race for us to try to win. We want the jersey, on whose shoulder is irrelevant, but at the end of the day we are not the favourites anymore.”

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