• Simon Gerrans prepared for the Tour de France at the racent Tour de Romandie (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Simon Gerrans has foretold a Tour de France place for himself at Orica-GreenEdge even as the team steers toward a general classification orientation with a host of proven and burgeoning climbers.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
22 Jun 2016 - 7:24 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2016 - 1:29 PM

The 36-year-old puncheur has been a marquee rider at the Australian-registered outfit since he transferred from Team Sky in 2012 and, ahead of the Tour de France, still sees the stable as home.

“I think the fact that I can get across the board in most terrains is an asset, and the experience I’ve got these days, I’m lining up for my 11th Tour de France this year so I think that counts for a lot when you have someone that is going for the overall,” Gerrans told Cycling Central.

Gerrans is on Orica-GreenEdge’s long-list for the Tour de France and since the Criterium du Dauphine has trained at altitude with Victorian coach Dave Sanders.

Orica-GreenEdge had a two-prong attack with developing British climbers Adam and Simon Yates for the Tour, but has lost the latter, who is serving a backdated four-month suspension for testing positive to asthma drug Terbutaline.

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The outfit finished second overall at the Giro d’Italia in May through 26-year-old Colombian Esteban Chaves, however, as sports director Matt White and Gerrans have alluded, will adopt a more opportunistic approach to the Tour, at least this year.

“I don’t think GC is going to be a big focus on this year’s Tour de France. I’m not even sure, we’ve been sent a long-list and I think the final selection for this year’s Tour is going to be made fairly late,” Gerrans said.

“I imagine the focus on this year’s Tour de France is still going to be stage wins and then you see the way [it’s] developing, with Esteban in particular, I imagine GC is going to be a focus down the track.”

The 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege champion said he has not embarked on much recon of Tour stages this season although will do immediately before the Grand Depart if selected for the team.

“Particularly this year, there’s not a heck of a lot of stages in the Tour de France that really suit my strengths,” he said. “We’ll go a couple of days early to the start and look at some of the stages early on in the race. I obviously know the stages around home in Andorra, and a few of the Alpine climbs I’ve raced up in the past, but as far as specific recon goes we’ll only do the first days when we get to the start of the Tour de France.”

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Gerrans is out of contract this year and it is understood the Australian has been in negotiations with Orica-GreenEdge.

The Tour marks the third part of Gerrans’s season, which began on home soil with a convincing victory at the Santos Tour Down Under.

“The first big objective was the Australian summer and then it was the spring classics and now onto the European summer of races,” he said.

“The classics didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, there were various things that didn’t go quite right. I learnt a little bit from that and have now put that behind me to focus on the Tour.

“I used [the Dauphine] to bring my form up a level,” he continued. “It’s a good opportunity to try and help my teammates out that I’ll be relying on down the track, give a few of the other guys that don’t get so many opportunities a chance. It’s a good team building race, form building race and great part of (Tour) preparation.”