Team manager Bannan looking forward to first Tour participation
Shayne Bannan has vowed that GreenEdge will be competitive in next year's Tour de France and that the green jersey will be among the team's main ambitions. The team is still awaiting a WorldTour licence from the UCI but has signed a host of high calibre riders ahead of their debut season, suggesting that its place in the Tour will either be guaranteed through a WorldTour place or via a wildcard invitation.
"Providing we get a WorldTour licence I see us being competitive for the green jersey and certainly in the stages that aren't that mountainous," Bannan told Cyclingnews at the official 2012 Tour de France presentation in Paris.
GreenEdge has been busy on the transfer market, signing Milan San-Remo winner Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Stuart O'Grady, Baden Cooke and Robbie McEwen to name but a few. The latter three have all been competitive or successful in claiming the green jersey but in 2012 Bannan will be looking to Goss to deliver more than his more experienced teammates.
With no GC contender on its books - a policy team management publicly pursued as they elaborated their roster - the team will look for other successes outside of the race for the yellow jersey. Bannan did confirm that he already had a long list of riders selected, from which he will have to narrow down to nine in June next year.
"We've got a long list in mind for the Tour that consists of twelve riders," he told Cyclingnews. "As we all know a lot can happen during the year with illness and injury but we have that list. Whilst we'll be an Australian team at heart we're really a global team. So it's not about sending nine Australians, it's about sending the best guys who can do the job.
"I think the expectations are that we'll be competitive and get the colours of the jersey to the front for large percentages of the time."
Despite lacking a GC contender Bannan picked out Australian Cadel Evans (BMC) as the favourite for the race. Evans won the 2011 race but already had a contract with BMC for 2012. "There are a lot of time trials and I think it will suit Cadel Evans again," Bannan said. "There will be some nervous racing early on but there's enough climbs to sort things out before the end."
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