Melbournian expecting selection battle
As GreenEdge eyes both a UCI ProTour licence and a strong performance in the classics in 2012, Mitch Docker has been announced as the latest recruit for the fledgling outfit.
The Melbournian's rise in Europe coincided with his joining Skil-Shimano in 2009, having previously ridden for Drapac since 2006. The 2011 season saw Docker finish an impressive sixth at Gent Wevelgem and 15th at Paris-Roubaix.
"I'm looking forward to doing the classics and the build-up to those races with events like Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, which is racing I haven't had in the past," Docker said in a GreenEdge press release. "It will be interesting to see how that extra race preparation helps my performance.
"But it won't be easy to make our team for the classics. This year I was 15th at Paris-Roubaix but that doesn't mean I'm a certainty to ride it next year.
"Having this sort of selection pressure is good. One of the things that make just about any sporting team successful is that it's hard just to make the team. We'll have that at GreenEdge. It will be hard to make the cut.
"The important thing is that being selected on the team isn't necessarily based on if I'm winning or not but the role I'm playing in the team and how that contributes to GreenEdge winning."
Docker was full of praise for the role that Skil-Shimano had played in his development, which lead to a second place at the Halle-Ingooigem in 2009 before stage victories at the Delta Tour and Route du Sud in France, along with a fifth placing on general classification at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in 2010.
"My time at Skil has been great. They gave me so many opportunities and as a young rider they never rushed my development, which will help my career long-term," he said.
Docker is the 15th Australian to have joined GreenEdge and explained he is looking forward to working alongside his compatriots which blazed a trail at the very top of professional cycling.
"I'm looking forward to riding with guys like Matt Goss and Simon Clarke, who I rode with and grew up with in the juniors, as well as the guys I've always looked up to like Robbie McEwen and Stuart O'Grady," he said.
"It will also be good to work with the staff, who understand the Australian mentality and to be able to speak Aussie slang at the dinner table."