Orica-Scott will kick start the Ardennes period of Classics racing this Sunday with a diverse line-up ready for surprises in a re-designed finale to Amstel Gold Race.
Organisers have removed the final ascent of the Cauberg, which came in the closing kilometres, in attempt to open up the race, but sport director Matt White said the outcome could go either way.
Watch online Amstel Gold Race this Sunday on Cycling Today, here.
“Sometimes new courses do create surprises,” White said. “But without the Cauberg in the final, it gives guys 20km of recovery and a lot more time to come back.”
“Climbers will have to move 30-50km from the finish to have any say in the race but even then you would anticipate sprinters’ teams having numbers to play with.
“The big guys will be forced to do something a long way out, or we will see the biggest group we have ever seen sprint for the victory.”
Three-time third place getter Simon Gerrans provides a fast option for Orica-Scott in the dutch classic whilst Michael Albasini and Daryl Impey also pack some punch.
Former winner Roman Kreuziger will be looking to repeat his 2013 performance whilst Jens Keukeleire and Mathew Hayman join the Australian team following strong performances during the cobbled classics. Michael Hepburn and Chris Juul-Jensen complete the line up.
“In terms of depth, this is one of the best teams we have put together for this race and we have people to play in whatever scenario is thrown up,” White said.
“Amstel has been a reasonably happy hunting ground for us in the past, so we hope to continue that trend and do well here.”
ORICA-SCOTT at Amstel Gold Race: Michael Albasini, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Daryl Impey, Chris Juul-Jensen, Jens Keukeleire, Roman Kreuziger