Orica-GreenEdge team manager Shayne Bannan looked a very proud man as he watched his riders being introduced at the Tour de France presentation ceremony in Liège on Thursday evening. Formerly the head of the road cycling programme at the Australian Institute of Sport, Bannan has spent two decades dreaming about putting together an Australian team to compete in cycling’s biggest event.
“This is a great moment for me personally and for this team. We’ve been building towards this for years and to finally be here is great,” Bannan told Cyclingnews. “The last couple of months have been pretty hectic working on the logistics, but now I’m really looking forward to the prologue and seeing the guys up there.”
Bannan also paid warm tribute to the team’s backer, Gerry Ryan, and to his son Andrew, who, along with Bannan is co-manager of the squad. “This wouldn’t have happened without Gerry, and to see Gerry and Andrew here and the excitement on their faces has been a real privilege.”
Bannan revealed that the Australian team aren’t going into the Tour with any specific targets beyond being competitive whenever they can be. “We’ve always said that in the initial years we want to target the areas in which we believe we’re strong and that’s the flatter stages and the slightly hillier stages, which will suit Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans or Michael Albasini. We want to entertain and we want to make sure that we’re there at the pointy end being competitive and whatever result that brings is whatever it is.”
Orica-GreenEdge team director Matt White told Cyclingnews on Friday that the team have spent a good deal of time looking over the finish of stage three, which features a very rolling run-in to Boulogne. White said that the steep uphill finish could suit a number of the team’s riders, notably Gerrans and Albasini.