New Aussie team Green Edge is patiently naming its riders. In a story on cyclingnews.com, it appears they are aiming for a full house of 28 riders and so far they have confirmed 11 riders. They’re Travis Meyer, Cameron Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Stuart O’Grady, Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke all Aussies. Plus Canadian Svein Tuft, Eritrean Daniel Teklehaymanot and a trio of Dutchmen in Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld and Jens Mouris.
Sneaky manager Shane Bannan says “there’s no point in looking at this group or any future signings for a headline act“. Some solid riders there but less than 300 ranking points in total, meaning if they were in the World Tour today they’d rank lower than Vacansoleil, Ag2r and Quick-Step. Based on this you’d be forgiven for thinking the team is planning a modest start.
But the squad isn’t in the World Tour now and more importantly, the team is set to announce more riders who will come with plenty more points and prestige. Notably Matthew Goss, currently 13th overall in the World Tour rankings. With Goss alone the team will jump up the rankings.
More details need to be confirmed and winning “ProTeam” status is dependent on several factors. First you can’t copy across the existing rankings as the UCI uses a different internal scale to assess the team’s “sporting merit”. But it’s also about administrative issues and here it seems Green Edge have been working closely with the UCI to ensure full compliance. Plus there’s the ethical dimension and nobody’s done anything wrong yet. Manager Neil Stephens does come with what an airline would call excess baggage but this can be shed with some honesty and transparency.
So if you note 11 riders and read Bannan saying no more big names are coming… then wait as there will be more riders and news to come. Longer term the squad needs some financial backing from sponsors but apparently this can wait.
What I find more interesting is that the squad reminds me of an play called “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello, except this time it’s 20 guys in search of a sprinter. The squad could have the best lead out in the business, a road train that goes on and on… but who is the sprinter? Matthew Goss is useful in a sprint finish but seems more of an all rounder. Leigh Howard is promising but not quite there yet.
But you don’t build a team overnight. The lessons from recent new entrants is that it takes time to learn. Even Sky with their love of planning and visualisation have said the first season was a strange experience and I suspect Leopard-Trek will make some changes and apply lessons for 2012. So if you’re an Aussie or just curious, keep an eye on this team.
Finally one thing I’m looking forward to learning more about the women’s team. This has been announced but we’ve not heard much detail.