After several months of uncertainty GreenEdge Cycling have confirmed that their Mitchelton-BikeExchange team will return for 2019, with the Tour of Langkawi scheduled as their first race later this spring. In the summer of 2018 the riders on the roster were informed that the squad faced possible closure but this week GreenEdge confirmed that the project would go ahead with a roster of eight riders. The team will race at Continental level.
The most significant development is that the team will increase their interest in Asia, with a more concentrated focus on developing riders from China. The team had been seen as one of the most important gateways from which Australian talent could develop and move into the WorldTour. The team are also unlikely to race consistently in Europe this year.
In 2018 a squad of 15 riders consisted of six Australian, from which Callum Scotson transitioned into the men's Mitchelton Scott team. Previously, riders such as Lucas Hamilton, Jai Hindley, Michael Storer and Robert Stannard had all come through the ranks and moved into the WorldTour.
This year there are no Australian riders on the initial roster, while six Chinese riders have been named - with five of them returning from 2018. In addition, the team also has two non-Chinese riders in Brayan Chaves (Colombia) and James Oram (New Zealand). Chaves rode for the team in 2018, while Oram has moved across from the now defunct One Pro Cycling team in the United Kingdom.
"We believe a heavier focus on the Asian circuit is a better way forward for all parties at the current time and we're excited about the plans for this season," said general manager, Shayne Bannan.
"The team are currently meeting on Hainan Island for their first team camp and it's really pleasing to see the return of five of our Chinese riders from last year. We saw their improvement last year, and we think another season of exposure to our international set up will prove really beneficial.
"Whilst the full racing calendar is yet to be finalised, we're looking forward to kicking off the year at the Tour of Langkawi next month."