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Orica-Scott back Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves for Tour de France GC

Joseph Delves
23 Jun 2017

The team are aiming to double their chances by protecting both riders

Orica-Scott started the year with a plan and despite a couple of upsets along the way they're sticking to it. The Australian squad is intending to deploy a two-tiered attack at the Tour de France, with both Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves looking to get as high as they can up the General Classification.

Having long planned to protect both riders in the year's biggest tour, a degree of doubt had hung over the squad’s preparations. Chaves picked up a knee injury in the spring, which sidelined him for most of the season.

'We’ve two guys to support and seven guys to do it,' said Orica-Scott’s sport director Matt White.

‘We have a very versatile team and in terms of depth for what we’re trying to achieve at this year’s Tour, it’s as good as we’ve got.'

Despite podium finishes in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana last year, so far it’s been difficult to judge the Chaves's current form.

The recent Critérium du Dauphiné suggested he was back in working order, but didn’t give much indication he was about to win the Tour.

'Realistically, we don’t know what will happen with Esteban. He’s podiumed twice before at Grand Tours but it’s his first Tour de France.

'Everything has gone well since the injury. As we’ve said before we don’t know how the lack of racing will affect his Tour de France,' explained White.

Simon Yates is less of an unknown. He rode well at the recent Tour de Romandie, winning a stage and finishing second overall.

With the team looking to keep him to the front of the General Classification he should also be a good bet in the young rider’s white jersey competition.

'For Simon, we’d like to challenge for the white jersey and if we can beat the likes of Louis Meintjes (UAE- Emirates) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in that competition, it also makes a top ten result viable,' added White.

With few stages in this year’s race for opportunists, the team will focus almost entirely on supporting their two protected riders.

The role of road captain will be shared between Mathew Hayman on the flatter stages and Roman Kreuziger in the mountains.

Tour de France 2017: Orica-Scott line-up

Michael Albasini (Sui)
Esteban Chaves (Col)
Luke Durbridge (Aus)
Mathew Hayman (Aus)
Damien Howson (Aus)
Daryl Impey (RSA)
Jens Keulekeire (Bel)
Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
Simon Yates (GBr)