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Today dozens of journalists gathered in a conference room at the Hilton for the GreenEDGE Cycling press conference. This entailed the first official announcements of a new bid for an Australian ProTeam license for the 2012 season.
Will this be another Pegasus debacle? Well, one thing that I found obvious in that room today was that the guys running the GreenEDGE show have some strong relationships with all the right people. The project is being led by Shayne Bannan, the former head coach of Cycling Australia. When I think of the “who’s who” in Australian cycling, they all seemed to be involved. Most importantly, they claim to already have finances secured for 2012 and 2013. That funding is sufficient to put GreenEDGE in the top 10 ProTeams (current budgets put that at 10M to 16M Euro). When asked, Shayne Bannan wouldn’t confirm the major sponsor on record, however there’s a big Jayco campervan sitting across the street from the Hilton and Gerry Ryan (owner of Jayco) was hanging around. If this is the case, I don’t think Jayco’s commitment to cycling can be questioned.
Like everybody else, I’ve read comments about dirty politics against Pegasus and rumours on aggressive recruiting of riders which casted a shadow on GreenEDGE before they even announced their intentions. I can’t comment if any of that is true, but Bannan said that they’ll be targeting Australian riders whose contracts are up in 2011 (15 riders in total, up to 75% of riders could be Australian). When asked the question of the possibility of poaching marquee riders from their current contract came up, Bannan said there was no need under current circumstances. If anyone wants to do some google research for me, it would be great to know which Australian riders have contracts up for renegotiation next year. It would certainly be fun to speculate what this team could look like.
Check out the GreenEDGE Cycling Website and watch the starting video. If Phil Liggett is on board, it’s gotta be the real deal!
For a good recap of what was said in the press conference, read Anthony Tan’s article on Velonews.
Neil Stevens, GreenEDGE’s Director Sportif
The Model (BTW, notice there will also be a women’s pro team – confirmed by Bannan when asked)