Caption Tour de Romandie

ORICA-SCOTT return to Critérium du Dauphiné with an impressive team line-up eyeing the overall and stages whilst also using the race as a build up for the Tour de France in July.

Tour de Romandie stage winner Simon Yates will lead ORICA-SCOTT’s ambitions in the general classification, whilst two-time grand tour podium finisherEsteban Chaves returns to racing after a four-month hiatus.

The race, along with the Tour de Suisse, is a precursor for the Tour de France and is historically used as form finder by the general classification contenders. ORICA-SCOTT have multiple targets for the race with a mixed team of climbers and fast riders, with final selection spots for the Tour de France on the line.

“The most important thing for us in this race is that the guys come out with a good feeling ahead of the Tour de France,” explained sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “For some of the riders it is their first race again after having a break from racing and training camps.”

“For sure I think the guys will be in good shape after their different training blocks, they always arrive in good condition and we know that the Dauphine is always a hard race.

“We have Simon Yates to go for the overall but we won’t put much pressure on him for that or the other guys. It would be great if he can be up there overall and also look to the white jersey competition.”

The team line-up is bursting with talent, with more strong climbers in Czech champion Roman Kreuziger, Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Damien Howsonand fellow Australian Jack Haig.

Volta Catalunya stage winner Daryl Impey also returns to racing after suffering from a broken collarbone in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and will be joined by the recently crowned Tour of Belgium winner Jens Keukeleire and Simon Gerranswho rounds up the stellar eight-man squad.

“It’s a good opportunity for all the guys to test their legs and also have their own opportunities,” Lapage continued. “The first few days could go either way, they could potentially be bunch sprints or finish with a breakaway.”

“Therefore these first stages are chances for the sprinters and Keukeleire is obviously in good shape having won the Tour of Belgium, so one of those early days we will ride for him and for another day we have Gerrans.

“As it is the first race back for many of the guys, for example Impey, we have to be careful that they use the race well and come out of it feeling good.”

The difficult yet mixed parcours generally favours the climbers with the final three stages the most difficult. Stage six features a hors category climb followed by a stage up Alpe d’hues and concludes with a summit finish on stage eight which leaves no room to hide.

The 69th edition of the event kicks off this Sunday, 4th June and consists of seven road stages and one individual time trial.

ORICA-SCOTT riders:

Esteban Chaves – (COL, 27)
Simon Gerrans – (AUS, 37)
Jack Haig – (AUS, 23)
Damien Howson – (AUS, 24)
Daryl Impey – (RSA, 32)
Jens Keukeleire – (BEL, 28)
Roman Kreuziger – (CZE, 31)
Simon Yates – (GBR, 24)