Madison Genesis team manager Mike Northey has selected a strong line-up for the squad’s first competitive outing of 2017 at the Tour de Normandie.
The seven-day stage race from March 20-26 takes place in the north of France and is famed for its aggressive racing, short, sharp climbs and inclement conditions.
Last year’s edition of the tour was one for Madison Genesis to forget, as sickness spread throughout the team and only Tom Stewart finished the race in a creditable 11th place.
However, Northey is confident that the riders selected can return to the form that saw Tom Scully place third on general classification in 2014.
“I’m really looking forward to getting our season started – from here on in we will be racing nearly every week until September.
“We’ll be looking to hit the ground running and that’s reflected in the team selection – we have a incredibly strong team slection for all types of race scenarios, Erick and Richard are our stage race GC specialists. But given the nature of Normandie any one of the guys could step into a GC role.
“Connor Swift is one of the youngest, but also one of the strongest of the team. We are really looking forward to seeing what he can achieve this week, especially being led with the experience of Erick, Alex and Johnny. The young riders jersey will definitely be on his radar.
“This year the race will be different than in 2016. Without a prologue time gaps will be decided by time bonuses in sprints and – if the weather turns bad – splits in the bunch.
“We will be remaining alert to both of those scenarios and hope for a strong showing.”
Erick Rowsell was a stage winner in the 2012 edition, while Alex Blain has the overall win in 2011 on his palmares. Johnny McEvoy also made the podium on the final stage in 2012.
Three of the team’s four new signings make the cut – Alex Paton, Johnny McEvoy and Connor Swift all pulling on the jersey for the first time.
The Tour de Normandie begins on Monday March 20, with live updates and daily reports from the race.
Madison Genesis team selection for Tour de Normandie 2017