Matt Goss will lead Orica-GreenEDGE at the Tour de France, with the Australian team targeting stage victories in their maiden debut.
Goss made his Tour debut in 2011 and formed a key part of Mark Cavendish’s sprint train, with the Manx Missile going on to claim five victories and the green jersey, but the 25-year-old will now go head-to-head with his former team-mate.
Baden Cooke, Brett Lancaster, Daryl Impey, Michael Albasini, Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld, Simon Gerrans and Stuart O’Grady complete the Orica-GreenEDGE line-up.
“While we have a lot of goals for Gossy in the Tour, his main objective is clear,” said directeur sportif Matt White. “He is on the hunt for stage wins.”
White added: “We have a lot of opportunists in the team of nine. We’ve said from the start that the overall is not a goal. We’re on the hunt for stage wins, and we have a lot of winners in those eight other riders.”
Cooke, who won the green jersey in 2003, Lancaster and Impey, who is riding his first Tour de France, will provide the firepower on the flat stages, while Gerrans, Weening and Albasini will continue the hunt for stage wins when the road tilts upwards.
Australian national champion Gerrans enjoyed a fine start to 2011, winning the Tour Down Under and Milan San-Remo, while Albasini is enjoying his best season to date having claimed three stage wins (two at the Volta a Catalunya and one at the Tour de Suisse) and overall victory in the Volta a Catalunya, along with second place at Flèche Wallonne.
O’Grady, who has appeared in every Tour de France since he made his debut in 1997, will act as road captain, with 15 starts, 13 finishes, two stage wins and nine days in yellow to his name.
“It was difficult to select the final nine,” said White. “We have more than nine riders that are ready for the Tour de France. It’s a good problem to have. When picking the team, we have to identify the team goals and pick the best riders to achieve those goals over the three weeks. I’m confident with the selection we’ve made that we can meet the objectives we set for July.”
Meanwhile, three of Orica-GreenEDGE’s Tour team have been named in Australia’s Olympic road race squad. O’Grady, Goss and Gerrans will be joined by the 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans and three-time world time trial champion Michael Rogers to form a strong team which is likely to provide the greatest threat to Great Britain and Cavendish.
Orica-GreenEDGE – 2012 Tour de France
Matt Goss (AUS)
Baden Cooke (AUS)
Brett Lancaster (AUS)
Daryl Impey (RSA)
Michael Albasini (SUI)
Pieter Weening (NED)
Sebastian Langeveld (NED)
Simon Gerrans (AUS)
Stuart O’Grady (AUS)