Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Green Edge Gets The Green Light

Australians will be cheering their very own cycling team during the 2012 UCI World Tour! Aussie entrepreneur and long-time cycling supporter, Gerry Ryan, and his right-hand man, Shayne Bannan, first conceived of an Australian team a few years ago, and now, after much planning and paperwork, their new team, GreenEdge, has been granted UCI World Tour status, which aside from everything else, gives the team automatic entry to the 2012 Tour de France.  

There has been talk of an Australian international cycling team for many years and there has even been a failed attempt, but according to everything I've read and seen, this is the real-deal. As we all know, teams can come and go very quickly, just look at HTC Highroad, so GreenEdge in it's current form, wont be around forever. It will change and evolve, obtain new sponsors and lose old ones, but two things we can be sure of is that they are the first Aussie team to be granted such a license, and that they will be a force to reckon with in 2012!

So far, the team looks to be set up very well. There is a state of the art training base in Italy, and their equipment looks top-notch, being provided by high profile sponsor Scott. Other major sponsors, SMS Santini, will be providing the team kit, and Subaru - the team cars.

And lets not forget the most important thing - the riders! I joined the GreenEdge email mailing list many months ago to keep up to date with their progress, so I was well informed of all of their signings as the media releases trickled out. With their finalised list of 30 riders being released in early December, it was clear to see that they have some real depth - with a sprinkling of star talent. This i not a team that will be contesting for Grand Tour victory any time soon - but team management have acknowledged that. It seems their focus for now will be the one-day races, and picking up as many victories as possible with their strong sprinters. Matt Goss, Allan Davis, Leigh Howard, Robbie McEwan etc. will surely bring them some early success.

Two major signings were Australian sprint legend Robbie McEwan and everyone's favourite, Stuart O'Grady. These guys will bring a wealth of knowledge to the young team. And it's great for them too, both have stated in interviews that riding in an Australian team was a dream of theirs, and now it is a dream that will be fulfilled in the twilight of their career.

The early support is palpable. As we all know - Australian cycling is growing enormously and all of the new fans that the sport picked up through Cadel's victory will now have a team to focus their support on. And their will be no shortage of support - the GreenEdge website crashed the day they made their memberships available!

The team will make their debut in the coming days at the Bay Criterium Classic, where they are sure to pick up some significant placings. I for one will be happy to be there on the sidelines to support our new team and to check out the new kit - witch will be unveiled for the Classic!

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