Team Dimension Data have selected a team they believe can secure a top general classification position in the seven-stage Tour of California, beginning later tonight (SA time).
With a long history in the race, Briton Mark Cavendish will be one of the team’s major drawcards.
Australian Mark Renshaw will play a similar role as the two will aim for strong finishes in the sprint stages – the first, fifth and seventh.
Cavendish and Renshaw both returned to racing at the Tour de Yorkshire a few weeks ago and they will look to build on that momentum.
Lining up with them in the team will be Julien Vermote (Belgium), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Netherlands), Jay Thomson (South Africa), Scott Davies (Wales) and Lachlan Morton (Australia).
“We are here with a group of guys who can go well across all stages so we’re determined to be successful,” Cavendish said.
“I am not here just to mill around. You only get better by trying to get involved so I’ll be doing that on sprint days and we’ll be looking at being successful as a team.”
Cavendish said he was looking forward to the tour. “I have seen this event grow into the WorldTour event that it is today,” he said.
“To see that by witnessing all of the fans who have come out is absolutely wicked.”
Morton, who finished seventh overall last year, expected the queen stage (stage two) and the time-trial (stage four) to be the most decisive.
“The GC here is always close because there are a couple of selective stages, but not so many where huge differences can be made.
“It is often a race between three or four guys right until the end. I am sure that this year will be no different.