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Young Belgian joins Australian project from Cofidis
Following news this week that GreenEdge has finalised its roster for what is hoped will be the Australian project’s debut season as a ProTour team, Belgian Jens Keukeleire has been announced as the latest recruit.
Keukeleire is the 19th rider to join GreenEdge and has spent the past two seasons with the Cofidis team, winning the 3-Daagse van West-Vlaanderen and the Nokere Koerse for the French squad in 2010.
At age 22, Keukeleire becomes an important asset for the fledgling outfit but even with his inclusion the average age of GreenEdge currently stands near 29 years.
"If you look at the list, and the ages if some of our riders we're looking two, three, four years out," financial backer Gerry Ryan told Cyclingnews this week, indicating that GreenEdge would be announcing some younger riders to join Stuart O’Grady, Pieter Weening, Robbie McEwen, Baden Cooke, Matt Wilson, Jens Mouris, Simon Gerrans, Svein Tuft and Michael Albasini who are all aged 30 and above.
In a statement released by GreenEdge, Keukeleire explained that he was hoping to learn from the likes of O’Grady and McEwen, who he said he has "enormous respect for."
"I still have a lot to learn. I need to get stronger and to improve my training, my technique and my tactical skills," he admitted. "GreenEdge is giving me the platform and time to improve and develop on all those areas.
"Because I know the position and knowledge of Australian cycling it was not a hard decision.
"I look forward to working with the highly qualified staff and to be part of a great group of riders."
GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan explained that he has had his eye on Keukeleire for a few years.
"When I was part of the national team I saw Jens race against our under-23 squad and he made quite an impression on me, so I've watched him closely in his first two seasons as a professional," Bannan said.
"His early results show that he is a big talent, particularly in the one-day races that we'll be targeting in our first few seasons.
"The Belgians are born with these races in their DNA so Jens understands exactly what we're trying to achieve.
"He's still very young so there’s no expectation that he can go out next season and win one of the major spring classics but he has the potential to do so in the future."