With Kruopis and Davis, Orica-GreenEdge targeting stages in Qatar
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Friday, February 1, 2013

With Kruopis and Davis, Orica-GreenEdge targeting stages in Qatar

by Kyle Moore at 2:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
NetApp-Endura keying on team time trial; IAM sending experience

Aidis KruopisThough Orica-GreenEdge won’t have its fastest sprinter in Matt Goss to contend the stages, the Australian team is sending its best sprint train to support fast men Aidis Kruopis and Allan Davis in the Tour of Qatar, beginning Sunday. The team is aiming for a stage win and a resulting high placing in the general classification in the flat and windy stage race.

With a top stage finish last year of third place, taken on stage three by Kruopis, Orica-GreenEdge stands a solid chance of going better this year. Kruopis will have to eclipse Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who won stage three last year and races Qatar this season in new colours. But the Lithuanian has since gotten a big win in the Tour of Poland to his credit, along with three others in 2012.

Orica-GreenEdge director Laurenzo Lapage outlined his team’s goals. “We are looking for a stage win and targeting a good result overall. If you look at our results from last year, I think this is a reasonable objective,” Lapage stated. “It is the first race of the season for a few of our riders, so it’s too difficult to identify their roles in the race at this point. I expect their roles to change from day to day as we see the difference in fitness levels.”

With undefined roles, Orica-GreenEdge has several riders with the legs for a sprint, and whoever has the ability to remain in the leading group could end up getting a good result. Baden Cooke, Brett Lancaster, and Jens Keukeleire could all combine to give the Aussie squad multiple threats in the ideal training conditions of Qatar.

“The Tours of Qatar and Oman have become key races for riders to use as preparation for goals they’ve set later in the year,” Lapage added. “There are many reasons why these races have grown in popularity. The weather is always good. The hotels are fantastic. The riders don’t have to deal with daily transfers. The time difference to Europe is small, so most riders have no jet lag. The distances from the stage finishes to the hotel often allows us to do extra training after the race. We’re happy to race here again this year.

“It’s always important to start the season well. Mentally, it makes the first half of the season a lot easier if the rider returns from the first race and feels confident that race fitness is where it should be. Good results can be the proof a rider needs to feel like he did the right kind of work in the winter. When the base is there and the first race goes well, there’s a sense of relief and relaxation heading into the next race.”

NetApp-Endura eying stage two time trial:

New hybrid squad NetApp-Endura trots out speedsters Russell Downing, Paul Voss, and Roger Kluge as some of its most experienced names. Team director Enrico Poitschke said he is looking forward to the difficulty posed by the stage race, along with the 14km time trial on stage two.

“In terms of character, the stages are all very similar. They are flat, and the wind will play a major role. In recent years, there were mainly sprint finishes and we are ideally prepared for this. The burden on riders at the Tour of Qatar is enormous as the constant crosswinds mean that high speeds are ridden on an ongoing basis. And anyone counting on a chance of victory must always ride very attentively. Apart from the natural conditions, the top-class nature of the riders participating should also be mentioned. Of the 17 teams invited, 13 of them ride in the WorldTour. We are delighted to have been given one of the few wild cards and to be able to test our strength in this first-class field right at the start of the season.

“Team time trials suit us well, a fact we have proven on several occasions. We will therefore do all we can to finish in a good position. At our training camp, we have just completed further intensive training in this discipline and now we can see where we stand in a race situation.”

IAM Cycling presents new team with experienced names:

Grabbing another Qatar wildcard is IAM Cycling, the new Swiss project. Though they’re a new squad, IAM sends out a host of experienced, well-known names. The team will be one that IAM hopes to send to a host of Classics races throughout the spring.

“We have aligned all of our Classics racers, with Heinrich Haussler as our leader,” team director Serge Beucherie stated on the team website. “This is a race without any relief, and it is very windy, so it is conducive to sprint finishes. The Tour of Qatar will allow our guys to leave their marks and make their final adjustments before the Flanders classics, which is a goal for IAM Cycling. On this team, only Jonathan Fumeaux will suffer a lot, but he will learn his craft and will have the opportunity to take his revenge on the sprinters in the Tour of Oman two days later.”

Orica-GreenEdge for the Tour of Qatar:
Aidis Kruopis, Allan Davis, Baden Cooke, Brett Lancaster, Fumiyuki Beppu, Jens Keukeleire, Jens Mouris, Sam Bewley

NetApp-Endura for the Tour of Qatar:

Zak Dempster, Russell Downing, Markus Eichler, Blaz Jarc, Roger Kluge, Andreas Schillinger, Daniel Schorn, Paul Voss

IAM for the Tour of Qatar:
Marco Bandiera, Martin Elmiger, Jonathan Fumeaux, Kristof Goddaert, Heinrich Haussler, Sébastien Hinault, Reto Hollenstein, Pirmin Lang


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