Strong Orica-BikeExchange team seek Lombardia win

Orica-BikeExchange will send a strong squad at the 110th edition of Il Lombardia with Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates as leaders.

Last weekend’s Giro dell’Emilia winner and Vuelta a España podium finisher, Esteban Chaves, is one of the favourites for the race having maintained his top form since the three-week Tour of Spain.

“In my opinion if you can come off the three week races, recover and re-set your goals then your can profit from the work you have done in those grand tours,” explained sport director Neil Stephens.

“Esteban showed that last year, when he came from the Vuelta. Last year we were actually a lot closer than the result showed, he finished in eighth place and was up there fighting for the win but he just hunger flatted in the final few kilometres.

“He has shown he can do it and his current form shows that he can do it and he will be well supported from the other guys that were in the Vuelta a España with him.”

Chaves will be joined by talented climber and Vuelta a España stage winner Simon Yates, the in-form Vuelta a España stage winner Jens Keukeleire along with Australians Jack Haig and Damien Howson.

“The trick is to finish Tour of Spain with good form,” continued Stephens. “Then to try and get your head around racing again with a few intensive training sessions.”

“I think Chaves has done that very well and Keukeleier has certainly done that well this year. Hopefully Howson, Haig and Yates can all flick the switch as well on Sunday, we have a very good team.”

The formidable line-up will also include the strong trio of Spaniards, Ruben Plaza, Amets Txurruka and Carlos Verona all suited to the hilly nature of the race.

The famous monument features five main climbs including two new ones for the 2016 edition, Sant’Antonio Abbandonato and Miragolo San Salvatore. Along with many of the other climbs the steep gradients are on narrow, technical roads adding to the difficultly of the parcours.