Britain’s first Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, “is definitely a rider who would fit into” the Orica-GreenEDGE team, says the Australian squad’s head sports director Matt White.
Talking to Rupert Guiness of The Sydney Morning Herald, White said that Orica-GreenEDGE was looking for a rider who could compte for the overall title in cycling’s biggest three-week stage races, including the Tour de France.
“Our team is ready to have a grand tour rider next year,” White said.
“We have identified people who would fit in to the culture of our team … They are people who are ready to come to the team and we are ready to support them.
“When you look at the likes of [current Orica-GreenEDGE riders] Esteban Chaves, Simon and Adam Yates, [Luke] Durbridge and [Michael] Hepburn … If we can keep that group for the next two years we will have one hell of a Tour de France team in two to three years.”
Wiggins’ contract with Team Sky ends this year, but White would not say if the 34-year-old is a rider he is specifically targetting to join the team, or one of a number of options.
“I would love to work with Wiggo,” said White. “If Bradley was to come we would have to have the money to buy him. He is not going to come for free.”
As well as the cost of adding a Tour de France winner to the team, Orica-GreenEDGE would have to work with Wiggins’ plans for the 2016 Olympics. He has said he wants to return to the track and try to add another gold medal to his palmares.
“Wiggo has made it public that his focus would be the Olympics in 2016,” said White.
He and Wiggins “have a history for sure,” White said. The two worked together when White was a sport director at the Garmin-Slipstream team. While riding for Garmin in 2009, Wiggins finished fourth at the Tour de France, giving notice of the ability that would eventually put him in first place in Paris.
“I haven’t spoken to Wiggo for a while … But he is definitely a rider who would fit into this group,” said White.
“We would have to know what his plans are for next the two years.
Obviously, 2016 would be a write off for the Tour, but he is a guy who could definitely fit in.
“His ambitions at Sky are certainly different to a year ago.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.