Porte not joining GreenEdge, O’Grady may also be absent
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Porte not joining GreenEdge, O’Grady may also be absent

by Shane Stokes at 5:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Australian team says it has no signatures as yet

Richie PorteRichie Porte is seen as probably the top Australian GC contender for the future, but the new GreenEdge team has said that he won’t be part of the squad for at least two or three seasons.

"Potentially, he's someone we'd like to talk to in a couple of years," said general manager Shayne Bannan. "I think Richie would need to go to a team that really has general classification as one of its goals. There are some really good teams that are after Richie and as much as we'd like to have him at GreenEDGE, I think we'd probably like to have him more in a couple of years."

Speaking to AAP, the Australian said that his team will initially focus on stage wins and single day Classics, and that it will be longer term before it is in a position to challenge for Grand Tour honours.

This correlates with what directeur sportif Neil Stephens told VeloNation in a recent video interview, recorded 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,” he said. “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 GreenEdge team was rumoured earlier this year to have reached provisional agreements with several riders who were with other teams. It denied it at the time, but speculation has persisted that several prominent and upcoming Australian riders were on the way there. Surprisingly, Bannan said that no signings had yet been finalized, although he said that two or three should be confirmed soon.

Earlier this week chief backer Gerry Ryan claimed that Stuart O’Grady was set to join the squad.

“Stuey has wanted to be a part of this project since we first went public with wanting to put a team at the Tour de France, back in Adelaide last January,” he told The Australian newspaper. “We'll be rolling out more big-name signings in the days and weeks ahead.”

However O’Grady subsequently denied this, saying on Twitter that he had not signed any contracts with teams. Bannan now concedes that bringing him on board would be difficult, particularly as his current Leopard Trek team is determined to keep him.

The first confirmed signings will be of interest to many, not least because the team has to secure a certain number of points in order to chase a UCI ProTeam licence. The Geox-TMC team signed Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre last autumn, yet still found itself shy of the overall points total needed to secure its place in the top 18.

As a result of that, it lost out on participation in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

Ryan has claimed that both of those races have said that the team is welcome to take part in 2012, as has the Tour of California.

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