Orica-Scott have confirmed their lineup for the 104th Tour de France which starts next week, with a dual-pronged attack featuring Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves as joint lead riders.
Team Sport Director Matt White said although a knee injury had interrupted Chaves’s training schedule over the past few months, the team were focussed on an overall podium position and the best young rider jersey.
“For Simon (Yates) we’d like to challenge for the white jersey and also make a top ten result viable,” said White.
“Realistically, we don’t know what will happen with Esteban. He’s podiumed twice before at Grand Tours but it’s his first Tour de France. Everything has gone well since the injury. As we have said before we don’t know how the lack of racing will impact his Tour de France, but regardless it will be a great experience and it will set him up for the rest of the season.”
On paper, and given past results and experience, the Orica-Scott TDF lineup looks extremely strong, almost invincible. Names include Mathew Hayman, Roman Kreuziger, Luke Durbridge, Michael Albasini and Damian Howson to mention but a few.
Seven Riders To Support Top Two
“We have two guys to support and seven guys to do it,” White continued.
“We have a very versatile team and in terms of depth for what we are trying to achieve at this year’s Tour, it’s as good as we have got.”
“There will be the opportunity to go for stages but the main objective is to support our leaders. Hayman is our captain for the flat stages and with so many flat stages he is going to have a very important role,” White said. “He will be our go-to guy for a big part of the race”
“Roman comes with a wealth of experience and he has finished in the top ten on three occasions at the Tour de France himself. He has also been a part of Grand Tour winning teams in the past. This experience and knowledge will be of immense value to our young climbers.”
Fourth TDF For ‘Turbo Durbo’
On ever-popular Luke ‘Turbo Durbo’ Durbridge, White described the 26yo 4 time Tour de France veteran as the team’s “big weapon in our engine room.”
“He is one of the strongest guys getting around and whatever our daily plans are, he lays it on the line and we can rely 100% on him, not just flat stages but across a lot of terrain,” said White.
ORICA-SCOTT 2017 Tour de France Squad
Michael Albasini (SUI, 36) – 9th TDF appearance
Esteban Chaves (COL, 27) – debut
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 26) – 4th TDF appearance
Mathew Hayman (AUS, 39) – 3rd TDF appearance
Damien Howson (AUS, 24) – debut
Daryl Impey (RSA, 32) – 5th TDF appearance
Jens Keulekeire (BEL, 28) – 2nd TDF appearance
Roman Kreuziger (CZE, 31) – 8th TDF appearance
Simon Yates (GBR, 24) – 3rd TDF appearance
The 2017 Tour de France runs from the 1st to the 23rd of July, starting in Dusseldorf, Germany. Bicycling Australia will be presenting you reports and highlights for the duration of the 21-day event.