Orica-GreenEDGE honed for Giro

Green machine: Orica-GreenEDGE's Simon Gerrans wins the Liege-Bastogne-Liege one-day classic. Picture: REUTERS

Green machine: Orica-GreenEDGE's Simon Gerrans wins the Liege-Bastogne-Liege one-day classic. Picture: REUTERS

CYCLING

Fresh from six victories in just eight days, Australian cycling team Orica-GreenEDGE are plotting to claim the Giro d'Italia's famed pink leader's jersey on day one.

They've targeted Friday's opening stage team time trial in Belfast and on Monday named a team stacked with noted time triallers.

They include Australians Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Luke Durbridge, Giro debutant Michael Hepburn and Canada's eight-time national TT champion Svein Tuft.

The team go into the year's first three-week grand tour with confidence, after rookie Adam Yates' overall victory in the Tour of Turkey on Sunday capped off a stunning period of sustained success by fellow Orica-GreenEDGE riders.

The 21-year-old Briton had worn the leader's blue jersey since winning Friday's hilly sixth stage and held it to claim his first professional title.

His triumph came after Swiss teammate Michael Albasini won three stages in the Tour of Romandie in his homeland and Australian Simon Gerrans claimed his historic victory in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege one-day classic last week. The wins took Orica-GreenEDGE's 2014 season tally to 17.

Now all eyes turn to the Giro.

While Australia's Cadel Evans pursues the overall victory for American outfit BMC racing, Orica-GreenEDGE have prioritised the opening team time trial and some stage wins.

They named Lancaster, Meyer, Durbridge, Hepburn, Tuft plus Ivan Santaromita, sprinter Michael Matthews, Mitch Docker and Pieter Weening in their nine-man team.

"Our first objective is to win the team time trial," said team director Matt White.

"It will be all hands on deck for the TTT in Ireland.

"We want to take the maglia rosa and of course hold on to it for as long as possible."

Co-captain Lancaster will be having his eighth Giro start, having worn the maglia rosa (pink jersey) nine years ago when he won the opening prologue. AAP

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