2012 medallists BMC Racing Team and Orica GreenEdge gunning for gold in world TTT championships
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

2012 medallists BMC Racing Team and Orica GreenEdge gunning for gold in world TTT championships

by Shane Stokes at 7:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
“This year we don't want to be close but we want to stand on the top”

Taylor PhinneyAs the hours tick down to tomorrow’s Elite men’s team time trial at the world championships in Florence, Italy, two of the medallists from 2012 have made clear their intention to challenge for gold.

The BMC Racing Team has confirmed that it had selected – as expected – last year’s individual time trial winner Taylor Phinney, along with USA Pro Challenge winner Tejay van Garderen, Steve Cummings, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär for the 57.2 kilometre test.

Last year the team was just three seconds off gold, losing out to Omega Pharma Quick Step. This time round, the squad has worked hard together in the buildup to the event and is determined to reach the top step of the podium.

The team’s president and general manager Jim Ochowicz said there was a real determination to do well.

“This gives us, as a team, an opportunity to showcase our organization. It is exciting for us since we were always very serious about team time trials during races as the Tour de France, the Giro or anywhere else. This is a highlight in our season,” he explained.

“Last year we were very close, this year we don't want to be close but we want to stand on the top.”

“We are pretty confident everyone has been properly prepared for the race. This is a high priority for the team and one that we have thought about since getting second last year.”

Van Garderen has shown his strength against the clock this year, dominating the time trial at the USA Pro Challenge and also winning against the clock en route to overall honours in the Tour of California.

He believes the key is about precision rather than just brute force. “It will be all about staying calm, staying calm on the climb and staying calm in the corners. Because when you get too nervous that's the moment when things can go wrong,” he said.

Of those who were second last year, three are part of this year’s lineup. Phinney, van Garderen and Quinziato are those concerned. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri said that there was a lot of deliberation about who to take.

“It becomes a numbers issue, there is a personal component to it, and even a friendship component,” he stated. “In the end, making that final selection is like cutting off a little piece of the team and it really hurts. But decisions had to be made.”

As much as van Garderen emphasised the need for precision, Sciandri believes another aspect will be vital. “There's no hiding. Speed is going to be a key factor.”

Bronze medallists aiming for more:

Meanwhile last year’s bronze medalists Orica GreenEdge have named their six for the race. Luke Durbridge, Svein Tuft and Jens Mouris are returning, and will be joined by South African TT champion Daryl Impey, Brett Lancaster and Michael Hepburn, with Sam Bewley the reserve.

They have built up specifically for the race, according to directeur sportif Matt White. “The majority of our team hasn’t raced during the last three weeks in preparation for the worlds,” he said. “Sam and Heppy were the two exceptions. Heppy raced Poitou Charentes and Alberta, and Sam did the first two weeks of the Vuelta.”

He explained that Bewley was sick after the Vuelta and the team had to weigh up his recovery and how it felt he could do. In the end, the team decided to go with Hepburn rather than Bewley. “Sam isn’t quite at 100% yet,” said White.

The team has set the race as a major objective and prepared as such. “We’ve had the team training together for nearly two weeks,” said White. “That’s the beauty of their set-up. All of the guys live in Girona, and they’ve been able to train together daily without going somewhere specifically for camp. They’ve built-up to this the Worlds together.”

White sees defending champions Omega Pharma Quick Step as the favourite due to the lineup they have selected. In addition to that, he also predicts that the BMC Racing Team, Garmin-Sharp and RadioShack Leopard will be strong.

This year’s course is much flatter and faster than last year, and as a result the riders were selected with that in mind.

“We have some big boys on our team,” he said. “For us, the less climbing, the better. This is going to be a fast circuit, and it suits our characteristics much more than last year. In 57km, there should only be four minutes thirty of climbing.

“Our objective in Florence is the same as it was in Limburg last year. If everything comes together on Sunday, we’re going to be a highly competitive outfit. I say we’re here to medal, but we have a chance of winning the world title, too.”

Different target for MTN Qhubeka:

Meanwhile the MTN Qhubeka squad has slightly more modest goals for the race, seeing it as one which is about building experience. It will ride flat out, of course, but recognises that a medal will be out of reach.

“The team is feeling very good and I think we have improved a lot this past week with the specific training we’ve done,” said former Giro d’Italia TT winner Ignatas Konovalovas. “We’ve been talking to each other a lot to understand each other perfectly. Everyone is at a good level now.

“The team time trial is interesting because it doesn’t mean a good time trialist is necessarily the best for a team time trial. It’s finding the best guys who fit into the puzzle. We would like to finish in the top fifteen, that would be a great result for us and we’d be very proud. But it’s world championships, so let’s see how it goes.”

He will be joined by South African road champion Jay Thomson, Bradley Potgieter, Johann van Zyl, Kristian Sbaragli and Martin Wesemann.

As part of its buildup the team did a lot of focussed training near its base in Lucca, Italy, and also spent a day on the Mugello racing circuit.

UCI world team time trial championships (Sept. 22):

BMC Racing Team:

Steve Cummings (GBR), Daniel Oss (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI) and Tejay van Garderen (USA).

Orica GreenEdge:

Luke Durbridge (AUS), Darly Impey (RSA), Svein Tuft (CAN), Brett Lancaster (AUS), Michael Hepburn (AUS) and Jens Mouris (NED).

MTN Qhubeka:

Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Jay Thomson (RSA), Johann van Zyl (RSA), Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU) Kristian Sbaragli (ITA) and Martin Wesemann (RSA).


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