Matthews and Ewan lead Orica-BikeExchange in Eneco Tour

Orica-BikeExchange continue with European stage racing at the Eneco Tour in Belgium and Holland next week, naming a versatile young team that has speed in abundance.

Tour of Britain stage winner Caleb Ewan and 25-year-old Michael Matthews will both enjoy protected roles in a diverse line up led by road captain and Paris Roubaix champion Mathew Hayman.

Slovenian lead out specialist Luka Mezgec will be aiming to replicate the success achieved with Ewan’s win in London last weekend.

The seven-day WorldTour race covers lots of difficult terrain and includes both individual and team time trials, two sprint stages and three days of tough classics style racing with a final day that could easily be described as a mini Tour of Flanders.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage is confident that the team has the right ingredients to do well in the demanding race.

“We have a lot of strength in depth for the Eneco Tour,” said Lapage. “The diversity of the squad provides us with different cards to play, especially for the stages coming after the team time trial.

“There are more sprint stages in this years edition and we will be looking to set up Caleb (Ewan) for those specific days whilst also protecting Michael (Matthews) with an eye on the hillier stages.

“It will be a challenging race, but we arrive on the back of good results in the Vuelta a Espana and Tour of Britain and solid performances in Canada last weekend. The attitude within the team is positive and we are certainly looking to carry on our good form and be competitive here.”

“Chris Juul Jensen and Carlos Verona are both versatile riders,” continued Lapage. “The ideal scenario for us would be to keep those guys in good positions to enable us to be aggressive in the stage finales.”

“With Alexander Edmondson and Michael Hepburn we have two really fast guys, not only for the time trials but they also give us more strength and speed on the road which will be vitally important.”

Starting on Monday the Eneco Tour will cover 998kilometres over seven days of racing. Four of those days will be in Belgium with the other three stages taking place in Holland as the race traverses the Benelux region of Northern Europe.