The man bankrolling GreenEdge, Australian mogul Gerry Ryan, was yet to visit the race of his team's first outing, the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic until today, but his arrival could not have been times any better with Shara Gillow claiming Stage 3 in Portarlington.
Ryan would have made it to the four race series earlier had he not been caught up with "family commitments" but admitted he had been constantly on the phone looking for updates on the progression of both the men's and women's outfits.
"It was very exciting to see GreenEdge come across the line first," Ryan told Cyclingnews. In fact, he was excitedly waving the chequered flag as Gillow crossed the finish line after a tremendous solo effort. Her GreenEdge-AIS teammate Melissa Hoskins wrangled the overall lead off Chloe Hosking (Total Rush – Hyster) resulting in a double celebration for the team which has been a study in consistency all week.
Ryan labelled Gillow’s win as "outstanding" before pointing out – "They handpicked the women’s team not only on ability but some of the character."
Following the Santos Women’s Cup, which is run in the lead up to the Santos Tour Down Under, the GreenEdge-AIS team will remain in Adelaide for a training camp with international signings Judith Arndt, Linda Villumsen, Claudia Häusler and Loes Gunnewijk with Ryan suggesting "that will only strengthen the team."
With mumblings of frustration given that the men were yet to do the same, despite the fact that Allan Davis, part of the GreenEdge composite team Mitchelton Wineries – Lowe Farms, would be wearing the leader's jersey heading into Wednesday's final stage in Williamstown, Ryan maintained that the team had bigger fish to fry over the next few months.
"There's a long way to go," he admitted. "You don't want to be peaking at this time of the year – it's a little bit early."
The next immediate focus for GreenEdge is on the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships where three team members are defending champions – Gillow (time trial), Jack Bobridge (road race) and Cameron Meyer (time trial) before heading to the Santos Tour Down Under where Ryan suggests the team is "ready to stand up."
There, GreenEdge will line up with 2011's overall winner and runner-up Meyer and Matt Goss respectively, along with Stuart O'Grady, Simon Gerrans, Bobridge, Leigh Howard and Robbie McEwen.
"That's far more important," Ryan explained. "The boys were saying a couple of them are a little bit behind where they want to be but as I said, it's a long season."