Green Edge in World Tour?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bannan Greenedge

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.

Road train

A not so green Aussie road train

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.

DeeJay August 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

“But the squad isn’t in the World Tour now”

Right, this will give them NO team value points over 2011 at all. Compared to other low-ranked applicants for the World Tour this will set them down an average 40 points. Top teams have up to 150 points in this area. Is this fair?

Flashing Pedals August 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

aside from the PR mistakes – the team is relatively quietly building the blocks for a long term project.
Background details were ironed out and although many riders are options, they know which ones they want and why. The next few weeks to the worlds will reveal the final pieces.

David Fitzgerald August 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

Was there also talk of a feeder team? Similar to Slipstream or Sky? Or will that be coming from the AIS u23?

Bomsie August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

I’ve never heard of the Eritrean rider before, but my knowledge doesn’t go deeper than the top layer. Interesting to know that there is a pro-cyclist from that part of Africa, not somewhere I’d imagine the sport is common, or maybe I’m wrong?

Ankush August 26, 2011 at 10:51 am

Except for Weening and Langeveld, currently there are no riders who will fight for top honors in the big races (no disrespect to Tour Down Under). Given they could somehow manage to make it to the World Tour, GreenEdge will need more than just Matty Goss to have a solid first season. I expect a couple of big name signings beside Gossy.

DeeJay August 26, 2011 at 11:02 am

@Ankush I agree that up ’til now they have not signed any rider for big wins.

If they don’t make it into the World Tour they will have the biggest budget of any PCT team by far. Will they shrink their budget or have they failed abysmally to spend their budget right?

Flashing Pedals August 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

the way I understand it, GreenEDGE will make use of the existing structures within Australian Cycling/Mapei Cycling Centre/ U23 / Women/ Juniors / State Development Squads / existing teams within Australia /incl smaller devlopment teams, etc.

The basis is similar to the methods used by Team Sky/BC.

Flashing Pedals August 26, 2011 at 11:07 am

Deejay – where have they publicly stated their budget ?

The Inner Ring August 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

Interesting comments, as always I learn more via them.

Bomsie: Eritrea has a home tour and partly thanks to the legacy of Italian colonialism, cycling is a popular spot there. Teklahaimanot was a stagiaire with Cervélo before the team was folded into Garmin and he’s finished high in the Tour de l’Avenir.

Doug August 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

“20 guys in search of a sprinter.” I love that line! It does seem like that could be the beginning of a formidable train. O’Grady, always fast, has been doing long turns on the front for his current employer, even up hills. I could imagine him doing that 5km-to-go to 1.5km-to-go pull like Hincapie did for HTC in 2009.
Speaking of HTC…given that they’re folding, I wonder if the reason for this assemblage of what you rightly point out looks like a leadout train is a prelude to their announcing the signing of my favorite Manxman. It seems like the rumor mill is 2/3 Sky and 1/3 Green Edge and nothing in favor of anyone else.

Flashing Pedals August 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

GreenEDGE wont be buying Mark Cavendish.

DeeJay August 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

@Flashing Pedals:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/greenedge-will-usher-in-a-new-era-in-australian-cycling/story-fn3owcsl-1225989829185:
“We have the structure and the budget to be looking at top 10,” he said.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/more-sports/pedalling-australias-tour-dream/story-e6frey6i-1225990316449
Project frontman Shayne Bannon (sic), the former national performance director at Cycling Australia, confirmed committed funding for the next three years is between 10 and 16 million euro per annum ($13.50m-$21.65m) [...]

The Inner Ring August 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

Yes, Sky Cavendish’s squad for 2012.

Flashing Pedals August 26, 2011 at 11:33 am

DeeJay cheers for links. Forgot reading that, seems ages ago!

PeterC August 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

At least they can count to 28, so they’re one step ahead of Astana on the PT administration front

Nick August 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

“A not so green Aussie road train”

Come on Inner, were you really struggling for material that you had to put something like that in? Totally un-related to what the ‘Green’ in the name stands for.

The Inner Ring August 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm

PeterC: maybe there’s room to sneak an extra rider in?

Nick: eh? Australia is half famous for its long road trains. Green Edge will have a very long train with all the riders.

Bomsie August 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Inrng: Thanks for that info, I’ll keep an eye out for him now.

natalie August 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I was not expecting to see a Luigi Pinerello reference in a cycling article.

natalie August 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

*Pirandello even. Ha. Cycling and literature mixed up.

hamncheeze August 26, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hard to say that Neil Stephens has any more excess baggage than others currently working in the field of management and DS. Quickly off the top of my head: Riis, Aldag, Zabel, Holm, Vaughters, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, Bruyneel, Gianetti, and even Stephens’ former Festina teammate Rous….shall I go on? If we look at the management of almost every team we will find ex-riders from the 90s involved on nearly every team. And given the history of the sport and doping, it is not a massive leap to assume that nearly every rider from the early-mid 90s to perhaps 2005ish has some baggage.

I’m not the manager of the Neil Stephens appreaciation society, just pointing out that he is not much different than most others of his era now in team management.

The Inner Ring August 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Natalie: it just came to mind!

hamncheeze: for sure. I’ve written about Stevens before, every team he’s been involved in before has collapsed in scandal. But like I say, this time he can be open and work to improve things. Done right there’s everything to gain; he knows plenty that is useful.

GluteCramp August 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

Don’t forget that Fly V, a well-established and highly successful PC team, did all the right things and the UCI flipped them into the dustbin for administrative breaches. Jerry Ryan wanted to have Australia’s first PT team and be and the UCI made sure no upstart beat them to it. We’ve seen multiple times on this blog and elsewhere that the UCI makes up the rules to suit themselves and both Jerry Ryan and our favourite UCI overlord (not the one on twitter) have more or less said that GreenEDGe will be in the ProTour next year.
I’d wager signing teklaimenot (sp?) was at the UCI’s request – he seems to be a special project, having spent time on UCI development squads training in Aigle.
Chris White played the UCI with a straight bat and got burned. Jerry Ryan is a massively successful caravan maker but more importantly he knows how to shake the right hands and have the right lunches. I’ve no doubt he’s more a successful politician than businessman – and he’s a billionaire at the latter…
Irrespective of their points when all 28 riders are signed GreenEDGe will be in the ProTour in 2012 thanks to the UCI’s opaque scoring processes and transparent corruption…

Touriste-Routier August 27, 2011 at 1:25 am

GluteCramp, while I am no fan of the boys in Aigle, I think it is more than a stretch to say that Chris White/Fly V did “all the right things”, if you are referring to the Pegasus Pro Tour project. Let us not forget the various deadlines they failed to meet. They clearly didn’t have all their ducks in a row, and they paid the price for it. Unfortunately the UCI is hardly consistent in their application of rules.

GluteCramp August 27, 2011 at 7:44 am

T-R: Fly V were told by the UCI their application was in order, but then told it wasn’t – there were misdealings between the UCI and Fly V and they ultimately cost them their sponsor. Once that was gone, with their ducks no longer in a row, the UCI simply applied the rules as they stood and culled them from the legitimate license applicants.
(IMHO, anyway)

Flashing Pedals August 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

GluteCramp

Chris White lost the sponsor, or the sponsor changed the mind. Either way, that basic contractual ‘error’ ensured that the UCI rules (deadlines) were not met – so to suggest otherwise is incorrect.

It may be correct to suggest that backroom dealings occurred with UCI/GreenEDGE to ensure they got there first, but that is neither here nor there.
If you have no marketing contracts signed sealed and delivered, you have no team, only a dream.

On another aside, earlier in the thread comments regarding Neil Stephens ‘baggage’ – you’ll need to go way back to find sport directors or upper team management, with clean halo’s.
If they raced in the 70’s/80’s/90’s then you’ll be looking forever.

The Inner Ring August 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Flashing Pedals: yes, that’s what Dave Brailsford said when he tried to find new staff. And with Pegasus, maybe they got flicked but the UCI extended deadlines for quite some time to help them… but the money wasn’t there.

Anyway, more signings to come. Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson today, more hardworking riders. Luke Durbridge next?

Abdu August 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Every top Aussie junior has worn the Jayco (Gerry Ryan) kit, to the point that I haven’t seen Jayco kit on anything but a fast kid on the road. I’d argue Gerry has done more for Aussie cycling than anyone else by funding it’s talent for little personal return.

Not sure what GreenEDGE did to you Inner Ring, but calling Shayne Bannon (yes, I believe that is the correct spelling) ‘sneaky’ seems just another pot shot from you. ‘Sneaky’? WTF? Why not apply the same term to others who were also recruiting at the same time? Or do you think Gilbert, Husovd, etc. all just rang up their new teams on August 1?

Tell me I am wrong, but every single time you mention them it seems to be with a handful of mud in one or both hands.

As Hamncheeze said, Stevo is one of many from that doping era, yet you single him out and never…never apply the same heat to the other DS’s.

The Inner Ring August 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Abdu: sneaky was a compliment. He said no big names… but he’s going to announce Goss. That’s sneaky, right?

As for no heat to other DSs, read more. I can point you to pieces on Astana to Vacansoleil, almost an A-Z of coverage. You’re not Stevo in disguise are you? ;-)

Ted August 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm

These guys are building slow. Maybe it’s good not to raise expectations.

Michael August 29, 2011 at 2:47 am

I for one like the approach that GreenEdge is taking with it’s roster. There are no real big name GC contenders available on the market at the moment, and Australia has a wealth of talent in the junior/domestic ranks. This approach to focus on classics with a view to building some champion riders in 3-5 years time is a very sustainable option. Much better than putting all of your eggs on one GC rider basket.

With regard to sprinting, they have signed a number of riders capable of winning a sprint in a smaller, select group. With Goss signing this is even more true. They also have riders on the roster capable of making the race tough enough over a lumpy race route to put riders like Cav in trouble. This type of tactic would see them win a few races/stages in their first few years.

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