Video: Stephens says it could take a couple of years for GreenEdge to have a top level GC contender
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video: Stephens says it could take a couple of years for GreenEdge to have a top level GC contender

by Shane Stokes at 2:25 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de France, Video
Preparations on course for first-ever Australian WorldTour team

Green EdgeGreenEdge directeur sportif Neil Stephens has said that preparations are going well for the team’s first season in the peloton, and that some good signatures are already in place. The Australian has however suggested that the squad may not have a top-level stage race name for at least a couple of seasons, needing to build and expand gradually.

“It is going really good,” he told VeloNation in a video interview conducted in recent days at the Tour de France. “I think we are going to be a very competitive team, I think that we should be able to do well in the Classics, maybe in the sprints. I don’t think at this stage that we will have one of the big riders like an Andy Schleck or a Cadel Evans on the team…that might be a couple of years away.

“We have got to mature, we have got to grow as a team, find our place in the peloton, I suppose. Then maybe in a few years time we will be up there, trying to get one of the big name riders to try to go for an overall win in one of the biggest races in the world.”

The squad is aiming to land a WorldTour licence in its first year of existence, and underlined the level of its backing and planning when it attended the Tour. It was outside the bubble of the race convey, but had a presence of a team bus plus several cars at the race. These were all very visible, showing race organisers, cycling officials and riders themselves that things are building well.

“We are working pretty hard. There’s a lot of work to be done, trying to meet the deadlines of the UCI, trying to make sure the structures are up and going. That seems to be going well at this stage,” he said. “We are hopeful that we will be able to get a ProTour licence for next year and be in the big races like the Tour de France.”

Australian cycling is currently on a high after Cadel Evans became the first rider from that country to win the Tour de France. This is a huge boost to the sport, and the possibility that the Australia could have its first ever WorldTour team in place in a few months is also something which will generate momentum. If it secures a licence, Tour de France participation would be guaranteed.

Stephens is excited about the thoughts that the country could have such a squad. “It’d be a dream come true for a lot of us,” he admitted.

Click on the image below for the full interview.



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