White says culture is the key to success
As the cogs on the rumour mill begin to grind into action with riders on the move for season 2013, Orica GreenEdge sports director Matt White is remaining coy on any recruitment plans to boost the team's general classification stocks for the Grand Tours.
In selecting their team for their inaugural year in the UCI WorldTour, Orica GreenEdge was very clear in its objectives: to build a unit that would be competitive in smaller stage races and the Classics. Having just completed its first grand tour, the Giro d'Italia last month, Orica GreenEdge finished with four of its nine starters with Fumiyuki Beppu best-placed in 121st.
The season to date has been an unmitigated success with some staff admitting that the team has so far delivered results beyond expectations following victories at the Australian Road National Championships, Tour Down Under, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, as well as at Milan-San Remo. Matt Goss claimed the team's first Grand Tour stage win at the Giro d'Italia.
Orica GreenEdge has recently announced that Sam Bewley will replace Robbie McEwen for the back end of 2012 and into next season but questions remain over what plans, if any, the team has to further boost their squad. Many still point to Richie Porte as a rider who should have been targeted by Orica GreenEdge however, if the Tasmanian had done so, he would be riding with little support and so Sky was a much better option.
"What we're looking for are people to fit into our work ethic and into our culture that we've created so far this year," White explained when asked by Cyclingnews if a GC recruitment drive was on the cards.
"We're looking for the right people – not the right points or the right results," he continued. "We've got a very good group of guys with us at the moment and I think we've achieved a lot. We copped a lot of criticism for not having a GC guy this year but we've punched above our weight every race we've gone to really. If we do come across a guy for next year then it will be the person who fits into our culture."
With Cameron Meyer now 100 per cent focussed on his road career, having dropped out of contention for the Australian track team for the Olympic Games following the world championships in April, it is hoped that the 24-year-old will develop into a Grand Tour contender. White pointed to the talents of the West Australian when describing Orica GreenEdge's possible tilt at the Vuelta a Espana later in the season.
"Even with the Vuelta we've got plans for certain people to maybe have a go at GC because of the way they've developed this year," he explained. "We didn't know how quickly some of these young guys would develop during the season."
"We've got a very, very tight knit group of guys," White continued. "Our mentality is that we work really hard for whoever the plan is for and that can change day to day. We haven't got a plan that revolves around one athlete. You've seen that by the results that we've had this year. We've had a lot of results and a lot of placings from a lot of different athletes. That doesn't work in all teams but it's how we work."