Orica-GreenEdge go into this week's Giro d’Italia with a well-balanced team to support Colombian Esteban Chaves and the objective of seriously challenging for a result in the overall general classification.

2015 Tour of Abu Dhabi winner Chaves produced a stellar performance in last year’s Vuelta a Espana with two stage wins and an impressive fifth place in the overall classification.

This year marks the 99th edition of the prestigious Giro d'Italia. As one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, the Giro is widely regarded as the most difficult due to the high mountains and unpredictable weather.

Taking place between the 6th and 29th of May covering 21 stages, this year’s race begins in Apeldoorn, Holland continuing the recent tradition of ‘international departs’ in various European countries.

The race begins with a 9.8km individual time trial followed by two other road stages in Holland before heading to Italy for 18 stages that will cover the length and breadth of the country.

Sport director Matt White is looking forward to the three-week race and the opportunity to field a team capable of challenging for the overall general classification.

“This is the first time in the team’s history that we have a team assembled around a rider who has the genuine credentials to compete for the general classification,” White said. “Esteban’s performance in last year’s Vuelta a Espana has given the team another string to its bow and supporting him will be our big focus for the race.”

“This is new territory for us. We have enjoyed success at the Giro d’Italia in recent years with stage results and consecutive days in the leader’s jersey in 2014 and 2015 but we have never realistically gone into the race looking to challenge for the overall.”

“Esteban is super motivated and he has prepared very well for the race. We are confident that we can provide real support for Esteban. We have a well balanced team around him and the experience of our Spanish riders Ruben (Plaza) and Amets (Txurruka) will be important on the mountain stages.”

21-year-old Australian sprinting sensation Caleb Ewan will be starting only his second Grand Tour and White is excited at the prospect of seeing how the youngster will perform on the big stage against the best sprinters in the world.

“Caleb is really fast,” White said. “We are well aware of that and it’s going to be an exciting prospect for the team to see him make the step up in this kind of race.”

“He has made a great improvement over the last twelve months, I’m looking forward to seeing how he will perform against the big guns of the sprinting world.

“There is going to be some strong competition there but we will be aiming to support Caleb on the stages that have the possibility of ending in a sprint finish.”

2014 Giro d’Italia stage winner Luka Mezgec and multiple world track champion Michael Hepburn will provide the vital speed required to support Ewan whilst New Zealander Sam Bewley and former Canadian road race champion Svein Tuft are the strong diesel engines of the team.

2013 under 23 world time trial champion Damien Howson completes the Giro d’Italia line up. The young Australian comes into the team directly off the back of an impressive performance in the Tour de Romandie, wearing the best young rider’s jersey on stage four and finishing in 16th position overall.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

BMC Racing Team will take a diverse team to the Giro d'Italia this week where the focus will be on stage win success.

Without a general classification contender, the team will have the freedom to take different opportunities, sports director Max Sciandri said.

"We are not taking one of our clear GC guys so all of the riders will have the chance to jump in a breakaway, go for stage wins, and really take any opportunity that they see. Four of our nine riders are Italian so it's always extra motivation to do well when you're racing at the biggest race in your home country."

BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the Giro d'Italia course is well-suited to the team.

"The team is at the opening Grand Tour of the season and as always we are excited to race at the Giro d'Italia. We have a team made up of experienced riders and some of our younger guys too, and each rider will bring a different strength to the team. We'll be primarily searching for stage wins and I hope we will have a successful Giro d'Italia," Ochowicz said.

Philippe Gilbert was originally set to race however a fractured finger sustained in April has ruled him out.

"Philippe's finger is improving well however not at the rate necessary for him to be back at 100 per cent for the Giro d'Italia and avoid any further damage. So from a medical standpoint it does not make sense to send him to a Grand Tour when he is not in the position to be really competitive," chief medical officer Dr. Max Testa said.

BMC for the Giro d'Italia
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Manuel Senni (ITA), Rick Zabel (GER).

Already a triple stage winner at the Tour de France, Tinkoff’s Polish climbing talent Rafal Majka is looking to build on his leadership performance at last year's Vuelta a España where he finished on the podium. Having finished sixth at the 2014 Giro d'Italia, Rafal is vying for another podium performance at this year's race.

Joining Rafal at the three-week is a mix of climbers and all round riders able to support the team leader over the varied terrains of the race. The experience of Matteo Tosatto, Evgeny Petrov and Pavel Brutt, starting their 13th, 11th and 7th Giro d’Italia respectively, will be valuable. They will race alongside Jesús Hernández and Pawel Poljanski who will play a role in the mountains, along with Jay McCarthy, Ivan Rovny and Manuele Boaro, the latter of whom will be keen to shine against the clock in his national race.

“Rafal Majka is the absolute leader here – if you look to the parcours, his history, how he has been riding in Romandie – so he will be our main card and our protected leader," sports director Tristan Hoffman said. "We have a strong team around him including Pavel Brutt, who after his injury rode a good classics campaign, and will be a strong guy who can pull hard on the flats and go in the breakaways.

“We have Jay McCarthy who proved himself again at the Vuelta last year, and he has got results from the breakaway at the Giro before. Evgeny Petrov and Matteo Tosatto have a lot of experience and perform well at the Giro. We have guys who can pull hard on the flats and others who can hopefully stay with Rafal in the mountain stages, like Pawel Poljanski. Everyone has had a good preparation and is excited to be racing here.”

The 99th Giro d’Italia gets underway on May 6 in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, with an opening individual time trial over 9.8km before coming to a conclusion over 3400km later in Torino, at the end of a 163km road stage where the 2016 winner will be crowned. As ever with the Giro, tough mountain stages are interspersed with many other difficulties and it seems at this race that even the straight forward days are never that.

With three time trials, one being a mountain climb, four possible sprint stages, five mountain-top finishes and countless stages in between, the course is for the real all-rounders. There’s even another off-road stage in the race this year, with the climb of Alpe di Poti on Stage 8 featuring double digit gradients over dirt surfaces to further complicate things.

"I really look forward to tackling the Giro now, after months of preparation towards one of my biggest goals of the year,” Majka said. “As a team, we had a good winter, training and getting ready for the season and we have had strong results since starting racing which has built a good momentum. Now we are ready for the first Grand Tour and I'm excited to be leading the team in Italy. I want to do my best for myself, Tinkoff and all my fans.

"We've got a strong line-up for the race and it's really good to be able to draw on the experience at this race from the guys like Tosatto, Petrov and Brutt, and to race alongside Poljanski. I think this is an important strength to have in the team. We have guys that can help me on all the various stages that the race has and then it's up to me to be there when it matters.

"I've seen in Romandie that my form is where it needs to be after a solid period of altitude training in Cyprus with the team and ahead of the Giro. I'm happy with how I'm climbing and I think this is where the real differences will be made."

As well as the push for the overall classification, the team will be looking to take what opportunities come their way for stage successes over the 21 stages. Manuele Boaro in particular will be looking to get at the sharp end of the results in the individual time trials, of which there are two flat and one uphill stages.

Majka can draw heavily on the experience of Matteo Tosatto, Evgeny Petrov and Pavel Brutt, with 28 Giro starts between them. From positioning to saving energy, to when to make your move as a team within the race, experience within the team is vital over 21 days of racing.

One of the most successful teams to ride the Corsa Rosa in the past 15 years, with 12 stage wins and two jerseys (for the points, respectively the best young riders classification), Etixx – Quick-Step comes at the start of the first Grand Tour of the season with the goal of being again among the protagonists, and has every chance to do so, as it will field a squad which mixes youth with experience, ready to fight on every type of terrain and leave its mark on the race.

Etixx – Quick-Step’s line-up for the Giro d’Italia:

Gianluca Brambilla – In his fourth season with Etixx – Quick-Step, the Italian climber has enjoyed an impressive spring so far, with one win and six top 10 placings, in one-day races and stage events alike. Recently, Gianluca became a father and will be motivated to celebrate this happy event with a string of strong results on home turf.

David De La Cruz – Lining up at the start of the Corsa Rosa for the second year in a row will be another landmark in the career of the Spanish climber, who was so unlucky at times last season, but bounced back in 2016 to finish in the top 20 of the prestigious Paris-Nice and prove that he has returned on the right track.

Bob Jungels – One of the riders to join the team last autumn, the Luxembourg champion showcased his talent almost immediately after joining Etixx – Quick-Step, taking the inaugural stage at the Tour of Oman and finishing third at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he also won the young riders jersey. For Bob, it will be the first time he’ll ride the Giro d’Italia, thus making his participation a learning experience.

Marcel Kittel – The most successful rider of the season, with 8 wins to his name since the month of February, the German will look to add more victories to his impressive Grand Tour palmares, which includes 11 wins in all three major races. Supported by a strong team, Marcel will hope to taste success early, on the opening week-end, when the sprinters will have two opportunities, in Nijmegen and Arnhem.

Fabio Sabatini – A respected rider in the peloton for his huge experience and road knowledge, Fabio is the one who’ll guide Marcel Kittel on the flat stages and make sure the German will be in the best position to kick-off his devastating sprint.

Pieter Serry – Always strong and always ready to give it his all for the team, Pieter will be an important asset for the outfit during the Giro d’Italia, a race he will ride for the third consecutive year and in which he’s ready to seize an opportunity if this will arise at some point.

Matteo Trentin – A versatile rider, Matteo returns to the Corsa Rosa after three years and will be one of the main men of Etixx – Quick-Step on the flat and also on the hills, as he’s a reliable helper, but also a rider capable of winning solo or from a reduced sprint, something which he has proved on several occasions in the past.

Carlos Verona – It’s easy to forget how young Carlos is, considering he’s with the team since 2013, but one should remember that he’s just 23-year-old and still has a lot of room for improvement. Making his debut at the Giro, the Spanish climber will be a key man for the squad in the mountains, where he’ll have the chance to test himself.

Lukasz Wisniowski – A second year pro and a debutant in a Grand Tour, our Polish powerhouse is going to be a valuable rider in Marcel Kittel’s train, as he can do some long and strong pulls on the flat in the important moments of the race, causing trouble in the peloton and eating into the breakaway’s advantage.

One of the team’s sport directors for the first Grand Tour of the season, along with Tom Steels and Rik van Slycke, Davide Bramati – who as a rider raced this event 12 times – talked of the course put up by the organizers for the 99th Giro d’Italia.

“The first three days will be very difficult. If you look at the roadbook, you see just flat roads, but what it doesn’t show you are the strong winds in the Netherlands, which can make the race explode when you expect it the least, and that means you have to keep your focus at all times," Bramati said. "As we return to Italy, the course will become tougher by the day, and the climbs of the Dolomites and French Alps, as well as the bad weather which we could experience, can take their toll on the riders.”
“We’re not making any secret of the fact that we’re coming here motivated to help Marcel get a stage victory and I think we have the potential to do that. Besides Marcel, we want to see how our young guys – Bob, David and Carlos – will fare on the climbs, especially those in the second half of the race, where also Gianluca can have an important word to say. I’m glad to have Matteo on the squad, who we can use as joker, but also Pieter, Lukasz and Fabio, all strong and reliable riders, who will support our leaders."

Team LottoNL-Jumbo goes to the Giro d’Italia with Steven Kruijswijk as its leader. The Dutchman, who finished seventh overall in last year’s Italian tour, aims for another top-10 spot.

“The general classification is our main target,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “We want to race aggressively to reach a great overall result. That doesn’t mean that we’re just going to attack every day, but when we think that it’s possible for the breakaway to make it to the finish, we’re going to try. Steven Kruijswijk has to do that himself at times, as well.”

That aggressive style brought Kruijswijk seventh overall in 2015, but he had some space because of an early time losses. “I have to prevent losing so much time like last year,” Kruijswijk said. “If I’m able to reach the level that I had last year, it might be another beautiful Giro d’Italia.

“My preparation has been quite the same as last year and I stayed out of trouble. My strongest point is the final week and that’s the point where you can win the most, as well. I will focus on my competitors, the first two weeks, and to strike in the final one.”

Kruijswijk will be supported by the experience of Jos van Emden, Martijn Keizer, Maarten Tjallingii and Bram Tankink. Team LottoNL-Jumbo has some riders who can win stages.

“Enrico Battaglin is able to do it from a breakaway and in a small group sprint,” Engels said. “He already proved that in the Giro d’Italia. Moreno Hofland is our fastest man and with him, we have a chance in the bunch sprints. Primoz Roglic is able to win, as well. He was already close in the Volta a Catalunya.”

The Giro d’Italia starts in LottoNL-Jumbo’s backyard on Friday, May 6th with an individual time trial in Apeldoorn. It stays in the Netherlands for three days. Jos van Eden finished fifth in the prologue of the Tour de France in Utrecht, won the time trial in the Eneco Tour and wants to show off another time in Apeldoorn. Martijn Keizer is aiming for a strong opening time trial as well.

“To start the Giro in Apeldoorn is something special for us Dutchmen,” Engels said. “It’s extra motivation. I experienced the Giro starts in Groningen in 2002 and Amsterdam in 2010 as a rider and those moments gave me a special feeling. I’ve seen some villages in Gelderland that already coloured pink, so it will give us a boost.”

This year's Giro is very special as it starts in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, on Friday with a 9.8km individual time trial, only a few steps away from the team's Service Course. This is followed by two more stages before the race moves back home to Italy.

In his first Giro, Tom Dumoulin (NED) will be primarily aiming for the time trials. With Nikias Arndt (GER), there are a few early chances to go for success with the flat stages in the first week of racing. The opportunists in the line-up include Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and Georg Preidler (AUT), who are all capable of getting in the breakaways and fighting for a stage victory, as well as proving their strength against the clock.

"Our target is to go for a stage victory. We'll have different opportunities in the time trials and the sprint stages. On top of that, we will apply an offensive strategy to aim for stage results from possible breakaways that survive until the finish," sporting director Marc Reef said.

UCI WorldTour winner in 2014, 2015 tops talented, strong squad, with high morale after scoring 18 victories since the beginning of the season.

Movistar Team confirms Monday the line-up it will bring to the start of the 99th Giro d'Italia in Apeldoorn (NED), on Friday. José Luis Jaimerena and Chente García Acosta will direct Eusebio Unzué's squad, led by Alejandro Valverde. The nine-man roster also includes Andrey Amador, Giovanni Visconti, Carlos Betancur, Rory Sutherland, Jasha Sütterlin, Javi Moreno, José Joaquín Rojas and José Herrada.

Valverde, winner in 2016 of the Vueltas a Castilla y León and Andalucía and author of a winning finish at April's Flèche Wallonne, will find support from Amador, fourth place finisher in the 2015 'Corsa Rosa', powerful rouleurs Sütterlin and Sutherland, talented climbers Herrada, Moreno and Betancur and qualified allrounders Rojas and Visconti,