Mathew Hayman of Team Sky. Photo: Getty Images
ORICA-GREENEDGE has ''everything to lose'' in the national men's road race championships in Ballarat on Sunday, according to Canberra cyclist Mathew Hayman.
And the Team Sky rider will be working with his two teammates to make sure that's exactly what happens on the Mt Buninyong course.
Hayman has fully recovered from his hip injury that cut short last year, but he said it was always hard to tell whether his good training form would translate to good racing form for the first event of the year.
With his training built around the classics, in March and April, the Australian nationals aren't at an ideal time for Hayman.
He said he would work with Chris Sutton and Richie Porte, with team tactics coming down to how each rider felt on the day.
Porte was an important cog in Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France victory last year.
But regardless of which Team Sky rider was going for the win, there would be plenty of pressure on GreenEDGE to defend the title Simon Gerrans won last year.
''We're a bit outnumbered but it takes a bit of the pressure off as well,'' Hayman said.
''GreenEDGE has got everything to lose, they kind of need to win as an Australian team, and I believe they've got 13 riders starting.
''So it's kind of up to them and I'm happy to go in there as an underdog.''
Hayman has set a goal of finishing on the podium of one of the big classics - the Paris-Roubaix or Tour of Flanders.
He finished in the top 10 on the famous cobblestones of the past two Paris-Roubaix and the 34-year-old decided he needed to aim higher.
Having claimed the Tour de France, Team Sky was putting more focus on the classics and Hayman was part of that charge.
''For me, Flanders and Roubaix are the major ones, but then outside of that there's a whole bunch of other races, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen … that's what we'll be focusing on,'' he said.