Albasini and Meyer extend contracts with Orica GreenEdge team
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Albasini and Meyer extend contracts with Orica GreenEdge team

by VeloNation Press at 6:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Swiss rider wants to win an Ardennes Classic, Meyer to continue focus on stage races

Michael Albasini Having been part of a successful Orica GreenEdge team which clocked up two stage wins earlier in the race, and after riding aggressively on several stages and netting second on stage fourteen to Lyon, Michael Albasini has extended his contract by two years.

The 32 year old Swiss rider has proven to be a key part of the Australian team and is looking forward to continuing to compete there until at least 2015.

“I know I could have had options with other teams, but when it came time to sign, I realised that I don’t want to leave this one,” said the 2012 Volta a Catlunya winner. “As our music video shows, we have a really good team spirit here. It’s nice to work where you can also have fun.”

Albasini was previously part of Mark Cavendish’ sprint train at HTC Highroad and also a successful rider in his own respect. He’s thrived since starting with Orica GreenEdge last year, taking that Catalunya success and this year clocking up a stage win in Paris-Nice plus the GP Kanton Aargau – Gippingen.

“We had a fantastic time together as a new group before the first season started,” said Albasini, explaining how he settled in so well with the team. “I brought my family with me to Australia, and we lived there together for a couple weeks. We all really enjoyed that. It’s been a great experience from the beginning. I’ve had some of the best wins of my career with this team. The team time trial in Nice in the first week of the Tour has been one of the very best moments.”

Feeling at home there, he has also clicked with the team staff. Directeur sportif Matt White regards him as playing a very important role. “Michael is one of the stalwarts of our team,” he said. “He is a very reliable rider in nearly every terrain. He’s a winner, but he’s also a super teammate.

“We’ve seen that here at the Tour, and we’ve seen that at every race he starts. He gives as much to his teammates as he does to his personal goals.”

Also extending is the Australian Cameron Meyer, who won the opening time trial in the Tour de Suisse and also finished tenth overall.

He took will stay until at least the end of the 2015 season, and is keen to continue his development. The multiple world track champion focussed completely on the road for the first time this year, and rode his first Tour de France. Like Albasini, he was an important part of the team time trial victory.

Cameron Meyer“The main reason I’ve decided to stay with ORICA-GreenEDGE is that the team has given me free range to pursue my general classification ambitions,” he said, explaining the decision. “If I were to go to another team with big leaders, I wouldn’t get the sort of support I’ve had here.

“The team gave me responsibility in Turkey, California and Switzerland, and they offered up the full team to back up this responsibility.”

He finished sixth in Turkey and fifth in California. The 25 year old wants to continue developing with a view to three week races, but wants to do things at a steady pace.

“I’m learning how to ride the general classification at the one week races,” he said, outlining what he sees as the most immediate target. “I’ve achieved top ten results this year, and next year, I’ll aim for the podium at some of those one week races. Being in a team that fully supports my ambitions and rallies around me to help me achieve them has been really good.”

Some have seen him as a rider who could potentially target a high finish in the Tour de France, but it remains to be seen if that works out. His focus on track racing on the past means that he is still learning the ropes as regards the longer stage races and while this first Tour has been quiet in terms of the general classification – he is 128th overall heading into the final stage – he doesn’t rule out bigger performances in the future.

However he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself as regards predications either. “I think I still have a lot more racing to do before we see if I can go into a Grand Tour overall contender role,” he said. “Obviously, that’s ultimately what I’d love to happen, but I need to prove it to myself first. The team believes it’s possible. That’s why they’re supporting me in the smaller races and putting the team at my service. They hope that in the future, I can step up and aim for big results at bigger races. Of course, I hope I can, too.”

White believes that things are going at a good pace thus far.

“We’re very happy with the progression we’ve seen from Cam this year,” he said. “This is the first year that he hasn’t had track obligations. In the past, he’s had to divide his attention between the track and the road. This year was his first full road season, and despite an injury that required an adjustment to his early season schedule, we’ve seen huge gains in his developments.

“The Tour de France has been a great experience for Cam,” he continued. “He will learn a lot from these three weeks. We’re confident that he can take what he’s learned here into the next season and continue to progress.”

As for Albasini and his future goals, his previous runner up slot plus three other top ten finishes in Fléche Wallone mean that he wants to ride strongly in the hilly one day events.

“I don’t usually target specific races. My season is more or less the same each year,” he said. “I’ve been doing the Ardennes Classics for a long time now, and I really like these races. It would be great to win one.

“The Tour is also really important. I actually think it’s important to win and keep morale high throughout the whole year. The goal with the new contract, like always, is to keep winning.”


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