The European season begins this week in Spain for the Australian team Orica-Scott at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
British twins Adam Yates and Simon Yates will take to the start line for the first time in 2017 on Wednesday, with the opening stage of the race being a testing 37km team time trial starting and finishing in Orihuela.
Adam, winner of the 2016 Tour de France best young rider category comes directly into the Orica-Scott team from a block of winter training in Spain.
“We will be heading into the Vuelta Valencia to use it as a step up to the other races that will follow,” said sport director Neil Stephens. “To get the most out of the race we will be targeting stages with full commitment without placing any unnecessary pressure on the team.”
“We have a great team here that will be capable of mixing it up on all terrains, but we want to be realistic and for this line up it’s the first race of the year and part of our preparation for what lies ahead.”
“The best way to fine tune your form is always through racing,” continued Stephens. “The guys have all been working hard over the winter, but the edge that you pick up in competition is irreplaceable.
“The race opens with team time trial followed by three sprint stages and a summit finish on the mountainous stage four. As I said we won’t be putting any undue pressure on the team at this stage, but we have good options to perform and will see where that takes us.”
The race covers a total of 690 kilometres across the Spanish region of Valencia starting with a 39.7kilometre team time trial. With each stage including challenging terrain and peppered with category three climbs apart from stage four, which includes the first category Alto de Puertomingalvo alongside two more categorised climbs.
Orica-Scott at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (1 – 5 February):Michael Albasini, Magnus Cort, Mathew Hayman, Chris Juul Jensen, Jens Keukeleire, Luka Mezgec, Adam Yates, Simon Yates