ORICA-GreenEDGE: "Ready to Make an Impact on TUR 2013"
On the last couple of days before the 49th edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, the weather is getting warmer day by day in Turkey as the summer comes and it is hosting the enthusiasm for the race. Thanks to the increase of the climb profiles which seemed to be lacking in the last years’ courses, this year’s Tour is more attractive. The positive feedback from the bicycle lovers and the public interest proves that the new course with more climb profiles will increase the competition for the general classification of 8 stages.
We’ve been wondering how the strong teams comprising professional names considered the 49th edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey with all those changes. We interviewed with the teams coming to Turkey on April 18th-19th for the race, about their criteria for forming their squads and their goals and strategies for the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. On our interview with Laurenzo Lapage, the Sport Director of ORICA-GreenEDGE which became the first ProTeam of Australia in 2012 and showed their successful performance on the World Tour, we asked him the team’s goals for the Tour.
Lapage mentioned that, as ORICA-GreenEDGE, they will target stage wins on the sprint stages with Leigh Howard and Aidis Kruopis and will look for an overall result with Cameron Meyer who raced at the Tour of Turkey last year as well. Unless the team makes any changes, Cameron Meyer, Leigh Howard, Aidis Kruopis, Toomas Vaitkus, Allan Davis, Michael Hepburn, Fumiyuki Beppu will be racing at this year’s Tour. “If we didn’t want to focus on the overall, we wouldn’t have needed to take the added climbs into consideration. Because we do, it was important that we included a strong climber in our line-up — that’s where Cam comes into play,“ said Laurenzo Lapage, as he explained what they took into consideration while creating their squad for the 8-day Tour with the changes made.
Australian 25-year-old cyclist who was known to be racing in parkour-style before, had started to show his successful performance on road races in 2007. Meyer had won the World Tour’s opening Tour Down Under in his country in 2011 and finished the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico on the 10th place. This season, at the 2013 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, ORICA-GreenEDGE is aiming for a result in the general classification with the champion of the 2013 Oceania Road Cycling Championships Cameron Meyer. Meyer’s magical domestic will be Tomas Vaitkus -a.k.a.Tomas the Tank Engine- with his indisputable strength. The Lithuanian 31-year-old cyclist was transferred from Astana to Orica-GreenEdge in 2012 will participate in the Tour of Turkey for the first time. We had listened to Tomas Vaitkus’ detailed comments from Shayne Bannan who shared the information about his transfer. Vaitkus can be defined as a contender in the general classification especially for the climb profiles if he’s ‘told to go’ and if he’s in good form.
It is obvious that, with Tomas Vaitkus and Cameron Meyer, ORICA-GreenEDGE has revised its team’s structure which was comprising only sprinters according to this year’s climb profiles.
As one of the strongest favorites of the race, on which stages ORICA-GreenEDGE focus its team strategies this year?
The only way to reach the general classification goals, is certainly to do well on the climbing stages of the Tour, especially the Elmalı summit finish which is known to be the Mini Alpe d’Huez and the following climb profiles. ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Sport Director Lapage said, “We haven’t yet discussed this as a team. In the days leading up to the race, I’ll have conversations with each of our riders as to the stages they would like to target. We’ll come up with a team plan based on these conversations.”
As a professional team, how does ORICA-GreenEDGE consider the changes made on the course of the Tour 2013?
Laurenzo Lapage commented, “The course changes make the race more interesting, and that’s always a good thing. We have selected riders that can handle the profiles of each of the stages.” The Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, used to be known as “a heaven for sprinters” until this year’s changes, is now changing its image with the new climb profiles. Before the three Grand Tours, the cold weather conditions in Europe affected the race trainings of the teams pretty much. The Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, is aiming for the World Tour race calendar in the following year/s and it can be considered as heaven for the teams, as the cyclists will say a quick ‘goodbye’ to the winter and enjoy their warm and pleasant rides in Turkey.
“This is an important race for our team. We have good memories from last year. While we were happy with what we accomplished last year, we want to do even better this year. We’ll be ready to make an impact on the sprint stages and overall,” said Laurenzo Lapage on behalf of ORICA-GreenEDGE, as he commented on the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.
Written by Aylin Koç
Translated by Deniz Çağırgan