GreenEdge going stage hunting in Paris-Nice
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Friday, March 02, 2012

GreenEdge going stage hunting in Paris-Nice

by Kyle Moore at 10:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
 
Australian squad rolling out with two young sprinters, Gerrans as well

Simon GerransWhile it won’t have a rider who is likely to contend for the overall classification, GreenEdge begins Paris-Nice on Sunday with a stage win in mind.  The Australian team sends a host of riders capable of taking out any of the race’s medium mountain stages or flat finishes, and will be led by Simon Gerrans, the Australian road champion capable of winning either.

“We want a stage win,” claimed team director Matt White on the team’s website.  “We’re obviously not going in to Paris-Nice with ambitions on the overall.  This sets up our eight guys to take individual chances on any given stage.

“There will be a lot of opportunities during the week that arise from breakaways or select front groups coming to the finish together.”

Likely to draw protection from his team-mates throughout the week is the Australian star Gerrans, the winner of the Santos Tour Down Under in January.  Gerrans is coming off of a 34th place finish in the Tour du Haut Var, and while the team says that Paris-Nice will act simply as preparation for the Ardennes week, expect Gerrans to be actively on the hunt for a win in France.

GreenEdge will also likely be looking to set up either Jens Keukeleire or Aidis Kruopis in the sprint finishes.  Keukeleire is the 23-year-old transfer from Cofidis, and a former winner of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.  Kruopis is in from Landbouwkrediet-Euphony, and while a bit older at 25 years of age, he is just as raw of a talent as the Belgian Keukeleire.

White noted his team’s youth as he spoke about his selections.

“When you look at whom we’ve chosen to take, it’s clear that we’ve selected a fairly young group,” he said.  “It’s a group of guys that really wants to race hard and roll the dice with whatever opportunities come their way.”

With a burst of speed he has used to win stages in all three Grand Tours, Gerrans will look to try and add a Paris-Nice stage to his palmares, even if one of GreenEdge’s young sprinters is unable to take his biggest career win.  White added that while they had certain stages targeted, aggressiveness throughout the week would be key for the team.

“We want to make sure we’re felt as a presence in the race,” White insisted.  “We want to animate the race.  The guys need to test themselves and ride aggressively.  The ultimate goal is that stage win, and if we don’t get it, we’re going to go down fighting.”

GreenEdge Cycling for Paris-Nice:
Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Leigh Howard, Jens Keukeleire, Aidis Kruopis, Wesley Sulzberger, Matthew Wilson

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