GreenEDGE adds Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson to 2012 roster
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Friday, August 26, 2011

GreenEDGE adds Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson to 2012 roster

by Ben Atkins at 7:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Experienced home riders to be reunited at new Australian team

baden cookeGreenEDGE Cycling has announced the signing of Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson. The two Australian riders will be reunited once more, having ridden for Mercury-Viatel together in 2001, before heading to Française des Jeux from 2002 through 2005, and Unibet in 2006 and 2007. From 2008 they went their separate ways, with Cooke heading to Barloworld, Vacansoleil and Saxo Bank-SunGard, while Wilson went to Team Type 1 and then Garmin-Cervélo.

“Matt Wilson is my best friend,” explained Cooke. “Simon Gerrans grew up just down the road, I’ve spent a lot of time on the road with Stuart O’Grady, everyone on the team is a friend and there won’t be another team in the peloton with such a close bond.

“The strength of this bond will be one of our advantages. The reason Australians are in such demand with European teams is our reputation for putting it on the line for the team. Now we get to do that for our mates on an Australian team.”

Wilson concurred with Cooke, saying: “This team is more than a team for me, it's like a family.”

Cooke’s biggest victories came in 2003, when he won a stage of the Tour de France and took the overall green points jersey. Ironically though, one of his best years came in 2007 when the Unibet team missed out on many of the biggest races as it became a political football between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the organisers of the three Grand Tours.

That year, as well as some others, Cooke took a number of good results in the spring Classics. He enjoyed similar form this year, with sixth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and tenth in Gent-Wevelgem, but also lacked a bit of luck.

matt wilson“For the classics I’m as strong as I’ve ever been and the next two-years will be the best years of my career in these races,” he explained. “I had one of my strongest classics campaigns this year. In Paris-Roubaix I was in the front group and was caught up in a crash on the last cobblestone sector.

“I’ve got really big aspirations in the one-day classics,” he continued. “I want to win a classic and work alongside the other guys on the team that have similar ambitions there to make us a force to be reckoned with.”

Wilson also enjoyed some of his best results in 2007, winning the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, although his most prestigious victory came in 2004 when he won the Australian championships, wearing the white, green and gold jersey in that year’s Tour de France. The chance to ride for an Australian team at the top level of the sport is something that the 33-year-old has always dreamt of.

“The opportunity to ride for a team directed by people who have been so instrumental in my career is very exciting,” said Wilson. “Signing with GreenEDGE feels like I've come full circle, as I started my career riding for Shayne Bannan in the under-23 Australian team 14 years ago."

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