While most keen observers predict a race among the favourites at the Tour of Flanders, Australia’s Orica-GreenEDGE sees a possible opportunity for its squad.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

With the absence through injury of both Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen, team director Matt Wilson says the race which starts in Bruges on Sunday is wide open.

Watch the Tour of Flanders live on SBS from 2230 AEST Sunday 5 April on SBS2.

"There are generally only a handful of guys in the world that can win this race," Wilson said.

"They have select attributes that even some of the best guys in the peloton don't have, guys like Cancellara and Boonen, they just have something else. But with those two guys out, the race is wide open this year."

Orica-GreenEDGE will send a young team to Flanders, but their best chances for a result probably lies with veteran Australian classics performer Mat Hayman and Belgian Jens Keukeleire.

Hayman's strength on the cobbles is well known while Keukeleire recently placed 9th at the E3-Harelbeke and 34th at Gent-Wevelgem.

The team may in fact look to the 26-year-old Belgian for a top-ten finish on his home roads as it bloods the younger riders in the squad for the future.

Joining Hayman and Keukeleire will be Australian's Luke Durbridge, Leigh Howard and classics specialist Mitch Docker. Kiwi Sam Bewley, Adam Blythe (GBR) and Danish neo-pro Magnus Cort will provide additional horsepower.

"We have a couple of guys who are going well in Jens Keukeleire and Mat Hayman," Wilson Said. With Mat, the course doesn't necessarily suit him well, but depending how the race plays out and as I said with a lot of the big players out, anything can happen and he can be there.

"But really, we have a team here looking towards the future and the big picture so a top-ten would be a great result and a success story for us on Sunday."

ORICA-GreenEDGE for the Tour of Flanders
Sam Bewley (NZL), Adam Blythe (GBR), Magnus Cort (DEN), Mitch Docker (AUS), Luke Durbridge (AUS), Mathew Hayman (AUS), Leigh Howard (AUS), Jens Keukeleire (BEL).

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