Team Sky’s Simon Gerrans has been confirmed as the latest recruit to the new Australian team, GreenEdge, which is hoping to secure ProTeam status for the 2012 season.
The 31-year-old, who earlier this month won the overall in the Tour of Denmark, said: “I’ve had a really good two years at Sky and it’s been a privilege to ride with a team that has set the benchmark on professionalism.”
“I’m looking forward to riding the rest of this season with Sky and have appreciated the team’s understanding in why I made the decision to join a new Australian team.”
GreenEdge will be the third start-up team that the Melbourne-born athlete will have joined – prior to Team Sky, he was at Cervelo TestTeam – and says that the personnel involved in the new project helped sway his decision.
“This might be a new team on paper but it has been 20 years in the making by people like [general manager] Shayne Bannan and I know the amount of preparation he does to get things right,” Gerrans said of the team that is making a bid to become the first Australian team in cycling’s top division, the UCI World Tour.
“In some ways joining GreenEDGE has a coming home feeling to it as many of the people involved, like Shayne and Gerry Ryan, have been a big part of my career for more than 10-years.”
Bannan said that Gerrans, who is the only Australian to have won stages in all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, would bring determination and the ability to read races to the team. “Simon is now in the prime of his career with a proven ability to win on the big stage, which made him a target for us right from the start,” Bannan said.
“The other big plus with Simon is the example he’ll set for the rest of the team, particularly the younger guys.
“As an under-23 rider it was touch-and-go as to whether he’d make it as a professional cyclist. But where others would have raised the white flag Simon found a way and has become one of the most complete riders in the peloton.”
As well as looking to add to his record of stage wins in the Grand Tours and other stage races, Gerrans will also be targeting the Ardennes Classics with his new team next season.
“I’ve always targeted the Ardennes Classics and after finishing third at the Amstel Gold Race this year I’m looking forward to preparing specifically for these races again with the backing of GreenEdge.”
“To win Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallone or Liege-Bastonge-Liege would be something special. I know everything would have to go absolutely right for me to be able to achieve that and I’m doing everything I can to give myself the best chance,” he added.
GreenEdge has already confirmed a number of signings including Stuart O’Grady from Leopard Trek, and yesterday revealed that it had recruited the 26-year-old Dutch rider Sebastian Langeveld from Rabobank.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.