Could McEwen lead new Australian ProTour team?
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Could McEwen lead new Australian ProTour team?

by Conal Andrews at 6:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Veteran sprinter says he’s considering offers, Team Fly V needs top name

Robbie McEwenThe recent confirmation by Robbie McEwen that he will do a further year in the pro peloton coincides with the news that an Australian ProTour team could be on the cards for 2011.

Team Fly V Australia, which is currently racing at the Pro Continental level, is vying to step up its game and is thought to be just over a week away from announcing a series of Australian and international backers which would give it the estimated €10 million plus budget needed.

Financial support aside, ProTour teams need to be able to show the UCI that they have riders of a sufficient level and that is where McEwen would be very useful. Although he turned 38 in June, he is still an extremely fast sprinter and this season picked up a stage win in the Vuelta a Mallorca, second in the Grote Scheldeprijs, third in the Tour Down Under Classic and fourth overall in the Tour Down Under.

He took a number of high placings early on in the Tour de France but the hoped-for stage win didn’t materialise as he had a bad crash at the end of stage six to Guegnon. He suffered greatly as a result but pushed on to reach Paris, showing the experience, determination and work ethic that would make him an asset to the new team.

He would also be a marquee name that would show organisers and the UCI that it is a serious outfit.

McEwen hasn’t yet commented on the new project, but made it clear that he is considering a number offers at present. "Whether I race for Katusha next year, I don't know,” he admitted to Het Laaste Neuws. “I will talk to Tchmil after the Eneco Tour. I may continue with the team, but there is interest elsewhere as well."

Chris White, who is behind the bid to move Fly V Australia up a level, spoke about the importance of having an Australian team at the top level. “Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Mark Renshaw, Simon Gerrans, Stuey O'Grady, Richie Porte and Wes Sulzberger currently ride for either American, French, British or Danish teams,” he told The Australian newspaper, explaining that they don’t currently have the opportunity to compete with an Aussie squad.

White’s non-mention of McEwen may be telling as it could potentially be interpreted that he is already in talks with the 2002 world road race championship silver medallist. The Australian states that McEwen supports the ProTour aspirations of the team.

The deadline for the application to the UCI is August 31st and it is expected that more details about the project will be announced before then. At that point in time, it may become clear if McEwen will be involved, but there would clearly be an appeal for him to finish his career with the first Australian ProTour team in history, thus helping the progression of the next wave of riders from Down Under.

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