[Green Edge] Shayne Bannan, Gerry Ryan and an Aussie Pro Team for 2012?

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Thought I would do a review the 2016 season of Orica Bike Exchange and do a mini review in 2017. There has been little movement at the station with three new arrivals Verona,Kluge and Kreuzeger while out are Matthews,Meyer and Tzurruka - With the fewest changes in roster of any WT team, this suggests OBE is happy with their roster.

2016 was an outstanding season for the team who has switched its emphasis from one day racing to a GC focus. Wins in two monuments including Paris Roubaix and Il Lombardia and a close 2nd in Liege Bastogne Liege will hardly be repeated in 2017. Of course 2 podiums in the Giro and the Vuelta and 4th in the TDF is an outstanding result - As well as 4 stages and GC in the TDU, 2 stages in Paris-Nice and a stage win in Romandy.

I imagine the aim in for 2017 will be at least one or two podiums in GC's - I am not 100% convinced Yates brothers and Chaves can win a GT - One area of weakness in the team has been their performances in one week stage races, outside of the TDU - This should be a major aim for 2017 and with the talent at their disposal this should be achievable - The team should again be competitive at the monuments ( excluding Flanders ) and the semi classics - OBE will miss Matthews in the one day races in the back end of the season, so will hope Ewan and Cort can step up more.

Rider Analysis

Michael Albasini - A valuable contributor who won his usual stage at Romandy as well as a second at LBL - A versatile rider at the tail end of his career who still has much to offer.
Sam Bewley - The workhorse of the team who provides protection for his team-mates in the flat lands and cross winds. Keeps on keeping on.
Esteban Chaves - Won Il Lombardia, a stage at the Giro as well as 2nd in GC at the Giro and 3rd at The Vuelta - TT will always be his achilles heel in GC's, but every year his answered challenges thrown down by the team.
Magnus Cort - Had a brilliant year for a second year pro winning 2 stages at the Vuelta, as well as being strong at the end of the race - Cort is a classics rider waiting to happen.
Mitch Docker - Had an injury interrupted 2016 but his career is at the cross-roads. Has failed to finish a GT for two years, which is not good for a GC focused team - Can provide assistance to the classics team as well as a lead out for Ewan - Must complete a GT in 2017.
Luke Durbridge - Had a strong showing in 2016 in both the classics and GT - Has a big engine which is invaluable at different times - Could see him podium in a classics/monument in his career.
Alexander Edmondson - Spent most of his first year preparing for the Olympics - Yet to see much but allegedly has a big engine and seen as a classics rider.
Caleb Ewan - Had a decent 2nd year up against the big sprinters - Improved over the year to be more competitive in the final against the big sprinters - Think he needs to show more mongrel in a finish, but still 2 stages at TDU, and a win at Hamburg is satisfactory - Will need to add another string to his bow because besides sprinting, he can do little else - Showed some aptitude on the cobbles and can say I have no issues with his endurance.
Simon Gerrans - A reduced leadership role in 2016 but still delivered 2 stages and GC at the TDU and more of a support role in Europe - This will most likely be his go in 2017, though I believe he will be one of the two team leaders at MSR. A year by year proposition.
Jack Haig - A very good neo-pro year. Had a heavy workload and managed to complete the Vuelta. Finished 2nd GC at the Tour of Slovenie which indicates his potential.
Matthew Hayman - The consumate team-mate who rides in the wind each day and can be involved in a spring lead out - Of course he reached the 'Holy Grail' at Paris Roubiax - Near the end of his career.
Michael Hepburn - A fairly uninspiring year in which large parts were preparing for the Olympics - A big engine rider who can be effective as a domestique - A make or break year.
Damian Howson - A good lieutenant who works well with Chaves - Did some excellent work in the GT's and is improving as a rider.
Darryl Impey - One of the best domestiques in the business - Versatile in most terrains, team-oriented,big engine and tactically astute. Worth his weight in gold.
Chris Juul-Jensen - Had a very good first year at OBE - A real workhorse who plays the team game - Would like to get a leadership role at one of the early season stage races.
Jens Keukeliere - A consistent season. His strength is cobbled classics though he had some bad luck in 2016 - Performed excellently at the Vuelta and managed to win a stage - A valuable rider.
Cheung King Lok - The mystery rider from HK who joined in April 2016 but never raced for OBE after the Olympics - Seemed to struggle with the pace of European races and never raced at the WT level. Apparently will be focusing on track in 2017.
Luka Mezgec - Main lead out sprinter for Ewan - Showed some potential in this role and we'll see how the relationship develops in 2017. Felt he was a bit off his best form in 2016. Could be a make or break year.
Ruben Plaza - Had a solid year but was derailed when S.Yates was suspended, forcing him to back in the TDF after a tough Giro. Expect better with a more settled role in 2017.
Robert Power - A natural climber whose neo-pro year was derailed by injury. Started racing in August and was give a gentle program to prepare for 2017. A very talented rider.
Svein Tuft - The engine room of the team continues chugging away. Could be his last year.
Adam Yates - Thought he was riding well early in 2016, though he was mainly supporting Simon at that stage. Of course he jumped out of the ground to grab 4th in GC at the TDF as well the Young Rider GC. Needs to work on his TT and ensure his season doesn't end at the TDF.
Simon Yates - Finished off the year well with a stage win at the Vuelta as well as 6th in GC - Thought he ws struggling a bit early in the year, before his 4 month suspension. Again its a matter of building on gains from the last three years.

New Riders

Carlos Verona - Transferred to OBE in August 2016 so should now be comfortable in the team - His role will be as a domestique at GT's.
Roger Kluge - Another big engine rider who will have a dual role as a sprint lead out and utility at GT's
Roman Kreuzeger - A big ticket item with big expectations. Has three key roles as a super domestic at the TDF, Ardennes Classics and one week stage races.

One wish list rider for 2018 is Geraint Thomas - And expect one or possibly two young Aussie riders to be signed.

Anyway there are few posters with Aussie connections who are free to add to this post.
 
Will be interesting to see how the team balance the support for the grand tour GC ambitions.
I'd be thinking RK and maybe Howson need to go Giro-TdF to ensure top line climbing support at both of those.
They have more depth at next tier down so more ability to spread the workload without dropping off the competitiveness
They also need to factor in development of younger riders - eg Haig & Power - and opportunists Ewan/Cort/Jens/Gerro/Impey
 
Personally I think for the Giro they can send Plaza and Haig to support the Yates' with Impey and Albasini as options too. I know they're not the calibre of Kreuziger, but I'd rate Plaza as being better than verona and by a certain point of the race one Yates shoud work for the other.

That would leave Howson, Kreuziger and Verona for Chaves, with one of Impey and Albasini to help.

If they do send Kreuziger to the Giro he would have the ability to back up and it would have the benefit of freeing up both Impey and Albasini for the TDF. Another problem with that is I'd have liked to see Kreuziger ride CSS/Canada as a leader and he'd be too tired to with two GT's.

Howson deserves a TDF spot and would probably not want to compromise that, he's also Chaves' closest domestique along with Bewley so I doubt that he would start the Giro.
 
Kreuziger - would suspect he was signed with the understanding that, illness or injury excepted, he would be riding the Tour for 2017 at least. How he gells with team chemistry is something we will need to wait & see.

Howson - has developed a very real and productive working bond with Chaves. Whilst this is working for them, they aren't going to compromise it.

Impey - demonstrated at last year's Tour that he can develop into a very valuable super-dom across a very wide cross-section of terrain including some serious mountains. Would not surprise to see him accompany the Yates' to the Giro.

Verona - until we see something meaningful with regards to performances, he remains a significant question mark as to whether/when/where he may deliver any significant value.

Plaza - could go to either race.

Albasini & Gerrans - have traditionally both rode the Tour but I cannot see this happening this year. Both are very much like for like and I suspect one will go to the Giro (suspect Albasini) and Gerrans the Tour given he has more working experience with Chaves.

Haig & Power - the former had an excellent neo-pro year including completing the Vuelta. Should go to at least one GT but lets see if second season syndrome plays out before marking him down for which. Power essentially lost his entire neo-pro year and unless we really see something special from him in other races; I'm battling to see him getting a GT start this season especially with a team that is now deadly serious re GC.

- Edmondson spent a large quotient of 2016 on track commitments but should be seen more on the road this year. Suspect he is cobbles destined, IF he shows something, he may be an outside chance of a Vuelta start. Will be interesting to see whether he is a pure diesel engine or whether he has a sprint capacity.

Durbridge - prime flat land grunt utility. Has rode the last couple of Tours but has less Chaves "time" than most. He may go to the Giro but much may depend on how his cobbles campaign plays out.

Keukeleire - offers considerable versatility with capacity to freelance results in reduced sprints, a strong engine and significant survivability across a lot of terrain. Has been part of a couple of Chaves campaigns so Tour is a possibility; again his cobbles campaign may be a factor as to which races.

Ewan - in essence a selection headache. A labour intensive bunch sprinter in a team that is pursuing GC with negligible survivability. His "pro" has a top-side of perhaps delivering an early stage victory but has to be balanced against the negative that he is extraordinarily unlikely to complete a GT and offers little versatility/utility to assist other team goals

Cort - reads very much like Keukeleire but with a significant enhancement re his sprint capacity. In essence, he's the brand of quick man that a GC team CAN realistically take to a GT who is not really labour intensive and is also of utility towards the prime focus. Have read that he will not be going to this year's Tour but if Ewan is going to the Giro, that only leaves the Vuelta. One wonders if everything is as "carved in stone" as we assume as again, how his cobbled season pans out may be a factor.

Hayman - quite possibly in his final season. Reportedly has a good rapport with Chaves but noticably he was not part of either the Giro or Vuelta squads last season. Has ridden the Tour the past couple of years. He may do so again but they may also choose to split the "old man"/captain role 3 ways with he, Gerrans & Albasini.

Bewley - the hard graft man for Chaves. Whether he rides the Tour with him may come down to a call of him v Durbridge. On paper, Durbridge seemingly offers more but we've seen Bewley "bust himself" for Chaves ..... not an easy choice.

Tuft - a magnificent servant for the team but was really feeling the pinch last season. Deserves to ride his final season out with honour but I'm not sure I could justify a GT start given the team's stated goals. I would suspect that Hepburn will be selected ahead of him, esp for the Giro.

Juul-Jensen - had a basically anonymous 2016. Would need to see something before saying whether/where he is likely to be of best utility.
 
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swuzzlebubble said:
Hard to see enough support for Yates' if neither Howson or RK are at the Giro
Impey was probably Yates no1 man at last year's Tour so, if he is selected for the Giro, they should have at least one support rider for at least a good portion of key stages. If one of Albasini or Gerrans is selected, either should be able to survive most medium mountains and/or have the capacity to be used productively in set pieces.

In essence, much will revolve around both Verona & Plaza and whether at least one of them performs in a serviceable fashion.

At this point, we cannot know whether Kreuziger will "gell" with this team or not. Ditto Verona.
 
You are overthinking things - The plan is to have have Haig, Verona and Plaza for mountain support in the Giro - Kreuziger, Howson and Albasini for mountain support at the TDF - Vuelta will have a three pronged attack and Kreuziger.

Between Bewley, Tuft and Hepburn ( wind riders ) you will have 5 GT's - Kluge or Mezgec is likely to to do the Giro and the Vuelta - Impey and Durbridge,Docker, Impey, Hayman, Keukeliere and Cort are slated to ride one GT - Gerrans is the interesting case - I'd have him ride the Giro and the Vuelta, instead of the TDF, but at the same time Orica will want to nail a stage of the TDF, so they may think Gerrans can deliver a stage.

Finally that was a fantastic leadout today by Mezgec and Kluge.
 
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yaco said:
You are overthinking things - The plan is to have have Haig, Verona and Plaza for mountain support in the Giro - Kreuziger, Howson and Albasini for mountain support at the TDF - Vuelta will have a three pronged attack and Kreuziger.

Between Bewley, Tuft and Hepburn ( wind riders ) you will have 5 GT's - Kluge or Mezgec is likely to to do the Giro and the Vuelta - Impey and Durbridge,Docker, Impey, Hayman, Keukeliere and Cort are slated to ride one GT - Gerrans is the interesting case - I'd have him ride the Giro and the Vuelta, instead of the TDF, but at the same time Orica will want to nail a stage of the TDF, so they may think Gerrans can deliver a stage.

Finally that was a fantastic leadout today by Mezgec and Kluge.
Don't think that I'm overthinking as such but rather seeing the legitimate uncertainties and that a number of selections remain fluid.

Verona could be a major asset or a complete zero. We have nothing to date on his showings with the team to indicate either way. Agree with Plaza to the Giro; Haig - fair enough. My question mark is whether they will provide sufficient reliable support or prove to be "bit players" at best. Hence my thought that Impey may go to Giro given his ride in support of AY at last year's Tour

Agree with Bewley and Hepburn being the wind riders but sadly can't see Tuft being up to in given how he was battling last season.

Kreuziger to also ride Vuelta ? A plausible scenario but not full sold as whether its worthwhile.

Agree that either Mezgec or Kluge will go to Giro but not both. Any more than one designated support for Showboater cannot be sanctioned if they are seriously pursuing a double prong GC campaign.

Albasini to Tour is certainly plausible but conversely, how much has he raced alongside Chaves whereas Gerrans has that history. Hayman .... I'm just not sure WHICH one they'll send him to.

Durbridge, Keukeleire, Cort .... each offering considerable versatility and utlity but exactly which combination each may slot into .... I remain uncertain
 
Re: Re:

dirkprovin said:
yaco said:
You are overthinking things - The plan is to have have Haig, Verona and Plaza for mountain support in the Giro - Kreuziger, Howson and Albasini for mountain support at the TDF - Vuelta will have a three pronged attack and Kreuziger.

Between Bewley, Tuft and Hepburn ( wind riders ) you will have 5 GT's - Kluge or Mezgec is likely to to do the Giro and the Vuelta - Impey and Durbridge,Docker, Impey, Hayman, Keukeliere and Cort are slated to ride one GT - Gerrans is the interesting case - I'd have him ride the Giro and the Vuelta, instead of the TDF, but at the same time Orica will want to nail a stage of the TDF, so they may think Gerrans can deliver a stage.

Finally that was a fantastic leadout today by Mezgec and Kluge.
Don't think that I'm overthinking as such but rather seeing the legitimate uncertainties and that a number of selections remain fluid.

Verona could be a major asset or a complete zero. We have nothing to date on his showings with the team to indicate either way. Agree with Plaza to the Giro; Haig - fair enough. My question mark is whether they will provide sufficient reliable support or prove to be "bit players" at best. Hence my thought that Impey may go to Giro given his ride in support of AY at last year's Tour

Agree with Bewley and Hepburn being the wind riders but sadly can't see Tuft being up to in given how he was battling last season.

Kreuziger to also ride Vuelta ? A plausible scenario but not full sold as whether its worthwhile.

Agree that either Mezgec or Kluge will go to Giro but not both. Any more than one designated support for Showboater cannot be sanctioned if they are seriously pursuing a double prong GC campaign.

Albasini to Tour is certainly plausible but conversely, how much has he raced alongside Chaves whereas Gerrans has that history. Hayman .... I'm just not sure WHICH one they'll send him to.

Durbridge, Keukeleire, Cort .... each offering considerable versatility and utlity but exactly which combination each may slot into .... I remain uncertain
Shows there are one or two gaps in the team, which is the case for most teams - Hence the reason Orica made a big offer to Thomas who can fill a utility role - I understand another offer will be made this year.

Anyway S.Yates is riding GC at Paris Nice with Cort going for the sprints and A.Yates riding GC at Tirreno Adriatico with Ewan doing the sprints - Finally Orica thinks Durbridge can win a ITT at one of the upcoming WT one week stage races.
 
Re:

swuzzlebubble said:
Good showing from Ewan yesterday.
He may end up deserving more support at the Giro
Unless one of the Yates twins is ruled out for some reason, ORS is unlikely to give him any more than one designated support rider. What may happen is that for certain sprint stages; he may be "lent" 1-2 along the likes of an Impey or Keukeleire (if either is selected) or one of those who is not classified as specialist climbing support.
 
Dirk is correct - Still probably find Mezgec and Kluge will ride the Giro but they will play utility roles - Interesting that the Tirreno-Adriatico route seems to have limited sprint stages this year - Ewan is supposed to ride this race so wonder if there will be a switch.
 
Actually the big positive from the TAD mountain stage was Haig. A very impressive first real "hit out" for the year in uphill terrain after a highly impressive neo-pro year. The team should still be selective as to when/where he races but, if he can keep illness and injury free, he should be in line for another GT start. It may be the Vuelta again as the Giro & Tour campaigns looks to be "full-on" but who knows ?
 
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dirkprovin said:
Actually the big positive from the TAD mountain stage was Haig. A very impressive first real "hit out" for the year in uphill terrain after a highly impressive neo-pro year. The team should still be selective as to when/where he races but, if he can keep illness and injury free, he should be in line for another GT start. It may be the Vuelta again as the Giro & Tour campaigns looks to be "full-on" but who knows ?
Actually Haig,Verona and Kreuziger treated stage 3 as a training ride - Rode together at the same tempo - My understanding is Haig is slated to ride the Giro.

And Ewan wins stage 4 of the Abu Dhabi Tour - Kluge and Mezgec are worth their weight in gold.
 
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Valv.Piti said:
Ewan definitely showing up. Added another level and can't be disputed that he needs to ride the Giro, no matter how much somebody (dirkprovin) doesn't like him. Im actually surprised by his top speed I must admit.
Mezgec and Kluge are a good lead out train - Hope that Ewan rides the whole Giro to build up endurance - And of course there are always two or three sprint opportunities in the second part of the Giro.
 
One of the great things about Orica is that the whole team genuinely seem to enjoy sharing the spoils and supporting each other. Check out the very end of this vision of Impey winning in Catalunya. Adam Yates is about 20 riders back and you see him trying to peer over the 20-30 riders in front of him to see the result. Love the look on his face when he sees Impey raise the arm in victory and then straight on to the race radio....I presume to let the team car know.

Great to see Durbridge also getting some excellent results. Wonder what odds he is for PR.
 
Did you see Chaves' reaction when Howson one stage 1 - and later the overall - in the Herald Sun Tour?

Now, why would Yates need to tell the team car that Impey won? Usually the people in the team car knows who won. Unless they're actually implementing the no "TV" screens in the cars rule.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Valv.Piti said:
Ewan definitely showing up. Added another level and can't be disputed that he needs to ride the Giro, no matter how much somebody (dirkprovin) doesn't like him. Im actually surprised by his top speed I must admit.
if you do a regression, versus Cav's Tour of Britain circa 2005, when he was only 21, Ewan does map nicely wrt his terminal velocity and ability to handle himself over the final 5 kms.

I always thought he lacked this terminal velocity to go with Greipel and Kittel, and especially the 500 watts in the saddle needed over the last 5km, to run along at 35miles an hour, it is a team pursuit threshold, then ramp it up to 1300 watts in the last 300metres. when Greipel, Cipo, and Kittel, and Jaan Kirsipuu hitting over 2000 watts.

But his arc, he is adding to his power meter, the watts are developing nicely
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Wilba60 said:
One of the great things about Orica is that the whole team genuinely seem to enjoy sharing the spoils and supporting each other. Check out the very end of this vision of Impey winning in Catalunya. Adam Yates is about 20 riders back and you see him trying to peer over the 20-30 riders in front of him to see the result. Love the look on his face when he sees Impey raise the arm in victory and then straight on to the race radio....I presume to let the team car know.

Great to see Durbridge also getting some excellent results. Wonder what odds he is for PR.
need to slate this back to Matt White. He is the best manager/directeur in the peloton by a ways imo. It does help, that he had the reins, he gets to choose his team squad, so no rider agent will sell him a rider, he first selects his riders for personality and team fit, how they will get along with the anglophone corps, now, it is not really an australian team, it is White's cosmopolitan team. Few australians make the corps scaffolding, only simon gerrans has really stuck to the team ethics. and thrived along with the team.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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RedheadDane said:
Did you see Chaves' reaction when Howson one stage 1 - and later the overall - in the Herald Sun Tour?

Now, why would Yates need to tell the team car that Impey won? Usually the people in the team car knows who won. Unless they're actually implementing the no "TV" screens in the cars rule.
HeraldSun Tour, less likely to have live footage available to screen straight to car, unlike the Euro races. so a fallacy assumed therein. /pleonasm
 
Huh? Can't really remember if it looked like they were having TV screens in the car during Herald Sun Tour (embarrassing since I've watched those BSPs multiple times). However, that wouldn't make any difference to getting images directly from the race-action and to the car in Catalunya.
 

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