With both Chaves & Gerrans "on deck" and presumably granted "dual leadership" for the 3 major AUS summer races; it now renders up some interesting selection calls for the remaining slots for these races; particularly with regards to the likes of Haig, Power and maybe Howson.
Howson was granted his chance of leadership at last year's HST netting a 3rd on GC. Given his growing rep as Chaves' right-hand man, his race schedule is most likely to mirror the little guys giving him few other opportunities for himself. Will be interested to see where he opens his season, and with Kreuziger coming on board, whether OBE diversify/switch support around to a degree with Kreuziger gaining some race familiarity with Chaves and Howson with the Yates.
With Power losing the majority of his neo-pro year, its likely OBE will seek to put some race miles into his legs. Maybe, at one of these AUS races they may give him some licence to go "up the road" at some point. With Haig, it may be the case that he is given a certain degree of freedom at one of the races but the prime focus being developing his relationship/understanding with Chaves.
Haig was super impressive in year one - Lots of race days and possibly over-raced and managed to finish a grand tour and contributed as well - My guess is two of Haig, Power and Howson will ride the Sun Tour - TDU is a different kettle of fish, especially seeing no Hayman this year - We know Chavez,Ewan and Gerrans are riding - I understand Hepburn and Edmondson are racing - Could they call Albasini down again for TDU
Chavez will disappear to Colombia for rest,training and the National Championship after the Herald Sun Tour, so he won't be around for February and most of March - Matching riders is a bit of an issue at the moment, as GC targets are yet to be finalised - It's the old scenario where riders have their targets which are at odds with sponsor requirements - The only thing set in stone is Kreuzeger being a super domestique at the TDF.
Re Haig's being "over-raced" in 2016. Maybe ?? Maybe not ?? I think the total days were blown out by him completing the entire Vuelta. Again, that was a call with arguments either way. Are we pushing him too hard as against the experience gained of being a part of a GC campaign and playing a role in key team strategic moves. Again, whilst surviving full distance is endurance on its own; he was NOT being called upon for day-in/day-out flogging himself to a stand-still. Also he is 23 (only a year younger than Howson & YatesX2) rather than 21 like Power so his relative physical maturity may have been taken into account. The answer, no doubt, will be seen in how he backs up in 2017.
Agree Kreuziger will go to Tour, no matter the leader & Chaves unlikely to resurface until sometime in April. Your comment re sponsors wishes could be read any number of ways. Orica HASN'T, to any public knowledge, ever made any such demands but are departing. IS the new title sponsor "locked in" (but not announced) but already making their views known OR is the team looking at the TDF as the vital shop-window to snag a new deal ?