Just days before the world’s premier cycling event Tour de France commenced, Australia’s largest marketplace for ‘all things bikes’ Bike Exchange, announced itself as the exclusive naming rights sponsor of the newly titled ORICA-BikeExchange cycling team...
The squad, previously known as ORICA-GreenEDGE announced the new name in conjunction with their newest sponsor and the release of the nine-rider team that would go on to contest the Tour de France on the 2nd of July.
The Tour takes place between from the 2nd to the 24th of July 2016 and covers 3,535 kilometres – making it one of the longest and most gruelling stage races in the world.
Director of Sport for ORICA-BikeExchange, Matt White said that the squad selected to represent the team in the 2016 edition of the prestigious event must have a ‘robust, versatile roster that can cope with the big effort required to compete in and win the Tour de France’.
‘I am happy with the combination of riders we have selected and it gives us an exciting mix of options for the three weeks ahead. Our objective is to target stage wins” - White said of Australia’s only Pro Tour team ahead of their second year contesting the title.
2015 was the team’s second year taking on the Tour and the rigours of the event along with a number of unfortunate injuries caused the team to achieve less than ideal performances overall.
“The team suffered in 2015 on day two losing three riders to injury, so an experienced squad is essential for this year’s Tour if we want to achieve our goal of chasing down stage wins”.
The talented nine-rider line up for 2016 consists of Michael Albansini, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Hayman, Daryl Impey, Chris Juul-Jesen, Michael Matthews, Ruben Plaza and Adam Yates.
Each member has been selected for the instrumental role that the play in the team dynamic and ensuring the roster runs efficiently and effectively.
Certain riders are selected for their potential in achieving stage wins and the entire squad works together to achieve this common goal.
Roles of each team member:
Matthew Hayman is executing the role of Road Captain due to his experience at the tour, which will play a big part this year in meeting White’s goal to achieve stage wins.
Michael Matthews, Adam Yates and Simon Gerrans are a force of protected riders, meaning the team works for these members. Riders who win the Yellow Jersey win it through the support and effort put in by their team, being pushed by the riders in the cohort.
Ruben Plaza will work alongside Yates in the mountain stages of the tour.
Michael Albansini and Daryl Impey will work in supporting Matthews and Gerrans by adding versatility to various stages of the tour.
Luke Durbridge and Chris Juule Jenson are working together to create a strong body of the team and in collaboration with each other share the huge amount of effort required to help the team to victories, by providing opportunities and helping the members of the team.
For any one rider’s stage success at the Tour de France to come to fruition, a backbone of impressive team support is what allows that rider to reach the heights of the success. ORICA-BikeExchange has an impressive team behind it for this year’s edition of the prestigious three-week race and we can’t wait to see what happens.
By Ruby Kearsley (Intern)