Greenedge, the fastest team in the world?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Greenedge logo

This isn’t a science but I’ve listed the Greenedge recruits for 2012 by what sort of rider they are. If you think the label is wrong, and there’s plenty of overlap, leave a comment and I can change it, part of the fun of the blog is the comment and interaction from readers.

What stands out is the sheer speed of the team. Sprinters, lead out guys with a track pursuit background, you name it this is certainly a squad that should make an impact early in the season. Just look at today, Chris Sutton has won Stage 2 of the Tour de Wallonie-Picardie whilst yesterday’s winner was Robbie McEwen. Both will be wearing green next year. And today Lithuanian sprinter Aidis Kruopis said he’s joining too.

Even if Mark Cavendish will win many sprints the Manx can’t be everywhere and Greenedge should, by sheer numbers, land several wins. This is vital for any new team. Look at how stressed Leopard was until Dominic Klemme won in the GP Le Samyn. And imagine how they could do in a short team time trial.

Self-selection
Much of this is not by accident. Australia has had a track conveyor belt, since (sort of) copied by Britain whereby talent was identified early and the endurance riders, for example in the pursuit or madison, have often flourish on the road. In other words most of the successful Aussies have a background in riding fast on the flat. The ones who are better in the high mountains have not come from this system.

Looking down the roster things might prove harder once the roads start going uphill from late April onwards. Peter Weening, Simon Gerrans and Wesley Sulzberger should help but I’ve never seen a squad so stacked towards sprinting and there are of course plenty of flatter opportunities in almost every stage race. If HTC was the “most winning” team, this was in part because they had so many options in the sprint.

Chris Sutton Sprinter
Allan Davis Sprinter
Jens Keukeleire Sprinter
Leigh Howard Sprinter
Matthew Goss Sprinter
Baden Cooke Sprinter
Robbie McEwen Sprinter
Aidis Kruopis Sprinter
Brett Lancaster Lead out
Travis Meyer Lead out
Julian Dean Lead out
Matthew Hayman Lead out
Luke Robers Lead out
Cameron Meyer Lead out
Mitchell Docker Classics rider
Stuart O’Grady Classics rider
Jens Mouris Classics rider
Tomas Vaitkus Classics rider
Sebastian Langeveld Classics rider
Simon Clarke Classics rider
Wesley Sulzberger All rounder
Michael Albasini All rounder
Fumiyuki Beppu All rounder
Matthew Wilson All rounder
Simon Gerrans All rounder
Svein Tuft Time Trial
Jack Bobridge Time trial
Pieter Weening Climber
Matthew Lloyd Climber
Daniel Teklahaimanot Neo pro
Michael Hepburn Neo pro
Luke Durbridge Neo pro
JamesBoH September 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm

That’s not a bad team is it!? Baden Cooke is such a good sprinter that you’ve list him twice though.

the irrepressible fairchild September 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm

You must expect Cookie to win a lot of sprints since you’ve got him listed twice… You’re right, this is not exactly a team made for the Alps…

MW September 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Going to be hard to keep all those sprinters happy, most teams have 3/4? Not 7.

The Inner Ring September 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm

JamesBoH + the irrepressible fairchild: thanks, fixed.

MW: yes, that will be an issue but if riders are patient they will surely get their chance.

Rooto September 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I counted 28. All full up now? And those who (maybe jokingly) reckoned Cav was going to GreenEdge, we now know better. Sigh, it’ll have to be Sky.

Maarten September 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Isn’t Hayman a classics rider?

regsf September 30, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Yeah, but that kit.

Euan September 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Some of those riders haven’t confirmed yet though, certainly Hayman and Sutton haven’t and rumours say as much that Sutton isn’t leaving.

Pave September 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Do you think this group of sprinters will have Classics potential? I think of Langeveld, O’Grady, Hayman as being strong classic guys, but they’ll need a team around them for that.

Playvelo September 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

You mentioned Robbie McEwen but didn’t list him. Isn’t he confirmed?

Frank September 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

They may be the most sprint orientated team in the world but my moneys still on Cav. Especially since, as such, Greenedge will be compelled to help Sky with the chase

Patrick September 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm

just seconding Euan’s comment, where’s the Sutton announcement?

Simma September 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm

gonna be a big year for sprinting… htc split means we’re going to see cav v goss v farrar v greipel v degenkolb (or kittel) v renshaw (and that’s just the huge names… there’s still at least 10 other guys out there who will be wanting the spoils these aim for, might make an interesting article listing them all actually), i predict many many accidents in the final 2ks of anything flat, probably involving romain feillu! lol

sprinting golden age?

kevin September 30, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Don’t be surprised if the Eritrean becomes their stage race leader at some point.

Sinai September 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I hope the Eritrean will be a real talent.
“In weekends the plains around Asmara (the capitol of Eritrea) are dotted with groups of cyclists in indecently tight shorts who whiz past grazing goats: the Italians left their favorite sport [in their former colony].” (from the book “I didn’t do it for you”)
Eritrea is a mountainous country, the capitol is at the altitude of 2500m and Eritreans are usually smaller people due to years if malnutrition. I think that now that the Eritrean-Ethiopian wars are over for some time we may see some Eritrean climbers in the professional peleton in the near future.

wellsy September 30, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Lloyd is quoted as saying he will not be riding for green edge. Apparently he is signed up by another team but no one will say who

wellsy September 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Lloyd is quoted as saying he will not be riding for green edge. Apparently he is signed up by another team but no one will say who.

Velonista October 1, 2011 at 1:28 am

How much of this has to do with pragmatism and UCI points rules? In the absence of GC riders available, surely sprinters collect more points than others to help a new team reach the threshold for ProTour status?

jackseph October 1, 2011 at 2:27 am

They really need to sort out that kit. Regardless of one’s opinion on Leopard and Sky, they wear some sexy threads.

Deb October 1, 2011 at 4:45 am

It certainly is a sprinty team, but there are four names on the list who haven’t signed with Greenedge- at least not yet. They are Chris Sutton, Julian Dean, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn.

Peter October 1, 2011 at 7:52 am

Cam Meyer for future GC.
Cam and Travis Meyer are both former national road and TT champs, so not just leadout men.
Cooke was a sprinter but has been turned into a strongman these days. Put him down for classics and harder sprints.
I don’t think there is any big egos in that list. Robbie McEwen is only riding half the year before taking on a tech role.
I hope the kit gets better!

Flashing Pedals October 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

I did not know they had Hayman?
Sky releasing some riders
I am not sure Cookie would say he is a sprinter any more. It’s been a while since he stood on the pedals, went toe to toe with others & won.

Team signings appear with a degree of the future, with exciting careers, others ‘political’ a few I would label ‘bit like the old tins in the food cupboard, you’re not sure if it’ll taste any good, but you keep em in the hope that it wont kill ya’ & some that should be labelled as ‘signed out of sympathy’

Cameron October 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

32 doesn’t go well into 30 either but I like all your descriptions, most level-headed I’ve seen regarding GE. Only one I disagree on is Sulzberger, always seen him as more of a sprinter type. Their numbers are at 26 presently, those you’ve mentioned that haven’t signed or been confirmed: Hayman, Sutton, Lloyd, Hepburn, Durbridge, Roberts.

The Inner Ring October 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Thanks for the comments. Regarding who they’ve signed or are linked too, I visited http://www.cyclingfever.com/transfers.html for the listings. So it’s possible one or two like Hayman and Sutton don’t join, I should have made clear my list wasn’t definitive.

On a secondary thought, if they can win fast and win often then this should do wonders for their search for a sponsor, if they start 2012 without one that is.

Starr October 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

GreenEdge has it right building a first year team of sprinters and selfless team pursuit types.

So many squads are built around gc hopes, or classics animals, yet fail to produce enough wins in a year.

Go after stages and smaller one-days. Win a lot. Please the purists.

Only 5 monuments and 3 GT’s. Forget about putting all your eggs into that basket. Odds aren’t good enough for a ploeg in need of exposure.

Daniel Moszkowicz (TKofC) October 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Hi guys,

Just from an Australian perspective, lots of excitement about this team. We’ve proven for many years that we produce some of the best cyclists in the world, and interest in cycling as a spectator event has really grown over the years with strong Aussie performances in The Tour, mainly, and increased coverage by our local broadcaster SBS – the “S” stands for “Special”. Anyway, there’s been talk about forming such a team for many years, albeit it’s always been done with an air of fantasy.

Whilst the Aussie riders have always welcomed such talk optimistically and indeed enthusiastically, the biggest hurdle has been an Australian-based sponsor with international branding, and whilst this may remain a stumbling block, Australian companies would be fools to ignore what has the potential to become the strongest cycling team in the world. Perhaps all GreenEDGE needs is Cadel Evans to bank that tag within a few seasons, and add the tag of international cycling’s, Dream Team.

Come on Aussie! …and come on Aussie companies!

Cheers,
Daniel Moszkowicz.

entyr October 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm

As of the 24th of September Matty Lloyd definitely hadn’t signed with anyone. I haven’t seen any announcements since then.

He said he had a couple of options, but wouldn’t be drawn further on the matter.

entyr October 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm

oh and for a list of confirmed Greenedge riders, Wade (cyclingtipsblog.com) is keeping a pretty definitive list.

http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2011/09/green-edge-news-thread/

mynameis October 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

In my opinion, they have a big list of sprinters, but apart from Goss, the other riders have not yet acquired the top level status. In certain races, if they have no big competition, they can score wins, but I have a hard time seeing some of those names (except Goss) beating names like Cav, Farrar, Greipel and cia.

Matt October 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I’m guessing that one thing matters for Greenedge, and their plan for 2012 and beyond – results!

With that many sprinters and lead-out men, it looks to me like they’ll try and stack the field in a number of 2.1/2.2 races to try and ‘guarantee’ themselves some wins.

Building a team to challenge week-long and grand tour podiums isn’t a walk in the park. And in order to be sustainable, Greenedge will need sponsors. So results will count.

Abdu October 5, 2011 at 3:26 am

Cookie is a Classics rider and Super Domestique now, he wasn’t far off in Roubaix (22nd).

Much as I like seeing him racing the SKCC crits on a weekend, I’d really like to see Matt Lloyd back in a Grand Tour KOM jersey but don’t reckon it’ll be with Greenedge.

I think it’s a great list, they’ve really managed to recruit the old heads and young future stars from the Aussie Pro ranks. In the ridiculous system that is Pro cycling, they need instant success but clearly Greenedge have built a team that will evolve (Cookie, Robbie & Stuey all step off the bike but stay around guiding the younger guys, etc.).

Daniel Teklahaimanot is an interesting one, the cynic in me says he has been signed because the UCI ‘suggested’ that would be a good way to help Greenedge get their Pro team licence. The kid is good, and I for one would certainly like to see him do well…but being a UCI scholarship holder and living in Switzerland on the UCI is not the same lifestyle as most other kids coming up through the ranks. It’s a great news story, and one for their expansion plans too, but it’s not like there aren’t heaps of locals (Aussies and even Kiwis) that they could have picked? Seems strange to me.

Good to see a positive review on Greenedge too, I may be wrong but all I saw from this blog was stuff sniping about them signing riders (when the other teams were doing so as well), about Stevo (when all the other teams have similar DS’ as well) etc…Hehe

benDE October 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

a little late here but concerning the jersey: A team without a sponsor does not want to compete with a potential sponsor. What if a sponsor comes on board and ‘spices up’ the jersey only to have the fans cry foul?!! The best strategy is plain, akward, and a bit on the ugly side. Examples for this are Highroad with their retro look and leopard. Highroad worked with a less apealing look and leopard, the new great experiment in cycling organisation, is forced to swallow Armstrong inc. to stay afloat after just one year. Good looking is not always good business.

Ian Holmes October 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm

“On a secondary thought, if they can win fast and win often then this should do wonders for their search for a sponsor, if they start 2012 without one that is.”

I was thinking this when I saw the list. No GCs but lots of “wins” to tout to sponsors for the first couple of years. I guess though as HTC proved sprint wins are ultimately no substitute for overall wins at stage racers (I am conveniently forgetting Martin’s win at paris-nice here)

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