Tour of Denmark winner brings Classics pedigree to new outfit
GreenEdge has announced that Simon Gerrans, a stage winner in all three Grand Tours, will join the team in its inaugural season. Gerrans, 31, recently won the Tour of Denmark, was third in Amstel Gold and adds to the team's Ardennes classics credentials.
"This might be a new team on paper but it has been 20-years in the making by people like Shayne Bannan and I know the amount of preparation he does to get things right," Gerrans said of his signing. "In some ways joining GreenEdge has a coming home feeling to it as many of the people involved, like Shayne and Gerry Ryan, have been a big part of my career for more than 10-years."
Gerrans rose to prominence in 2005 when as a first year professional riding in his debut Tour de France he rode to a gutsy third on stage 17 behind Paolo Salvodelli and Kurt Asle-Arvesen. He carried his form late into the season to take his first Herald Sun Tour in the same year - and has not looked back. Over the past six seasons Gerrans has gone on to develop into one of the countries most accomplished all-round riders. His palmares includes wins at the Tour Down Under, stages at the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, as well as winning the prestigious GP Ouest France-Plouay in 2009.
Team general manager Shayne Bannan was happy to have finally agreed terms with a rider of the pedigree of Gerrans.
"Simon is now in the prime of his career with a proven ability to win on the big stage, which made him a target for us right from the start," Bannan said. "As an under-23 rider it was touch-and-go as to whether he’d make it as a professional cyclist. But where others would have raised the white flag Simon found a way and has become one of the most complete riders in the peloton."
Gerrans will aim to continue building on his improvements in the Ardennes and believes a win in one of the big Classics may well be just around the corner.
"I’ve always targeted the Ardennes Classics and after finishing third at the Amstel Gold Race this year I’m looking forward to preparing specifically for these races again with the backing of GreenEdge," Gerrans said. "To win Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallone or Liege-Bastonge-Liege would be something special. I know everything would have to go absolutely right for me to be able to achieve that and I’m doing everything I can to give myself the best chance."
He was also thankful to his current team Sky, who he has ridden for the last two seasons.
"I’ve had a really good two-years at Sky and it’s been a privilege to ride with a team that has set the benchmark on professionalism," Gerrans said of his current team. "I’m looking forward to riding the rest of this season with Sky and have appreciated the team’s understanding in why I made the decision to join a new Australian team."
Gerrans joins Stuart O'Grady, Jack Bobridge, Cameron and Travis Meyer, Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld and Daniel Teklehaymanot at GreenEdge. The team hopes to gain a WorldTour license for the 2012 season.