The GreenEdge Cycling Team is moving fast, and following their announcements of partnerships with Santini and Scott Sports, have announced the appointment of the double Olympic gold medallist, Mike McKay, as their new CEO.
McKay competed for Australia in four Olympic Games, from 1992 to 2004 as a rower, winning his two golds as captain of the Coxless Four team (the 'Oarsome Foursome') in ’92 and ’96, and gold and a bronze medals as part of the Eight in ’00 and ’04.
GreenEdge is aiming to be the first Australian team to get UCI WorldTour status, and to ride in the 2012 Tour de France
"One of our priorities is to ensure our riders have support beyond the bike to prepare for life after their racing careers", says Shayne Bannan, the GreenEdge General Manager, General Manager and former High Performance Director of Cycling Australia.
'As someone to set an example for our riders I can't think of anyone better than Mike who won Olympic gold medals while completing a MBA. Beyond his business acumen that alone brings a lot to our team and its ethos."
'He also knows cycling. We've actually had a lot of former rowers make the transition to cycling but Mike was one of the first rowers to use cycling as part of his training.
"I'm looking forward to working with one of our Olympic icons as we aim to achieve something unique in Australian sport."
McKay himself sees Australian national pride as a key part of the GreenEdge vision.
"One of the greatest images in Australian sport is Australia II's victory in the America's Cup. Given what was required to get that boat across the finish line showed that we are world leaders in business, science, entertainment and sport. Taking an Australian team to the Tour de France, which is the world's biggest annual sporting event, will demonstrate those qualities all over again," McKay said.
"Australia has been screaming out for a cycling team at this level for 20-years and we're now in a position to deliver that team with GreenEdge."
Although GreenEdge had been criticised for attempting to 'poach' riders still under contract, Bannan has denied this. In August they will open formal negotiations with riders, as under the UCI regulations.