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Simon Gerrans to GreenEdge
Aug 18th, 11. Australian Simon Gerrans is leaving Team Sky and joining GreenEdge for 2012, the new team announced today.
Simon Gerrans holds a unique place in cycling history as the only Australian winner of a stage at all three grand tours and will form part of another piece of history as a member of the inaugural GreenEdge team in 2012.
Having ridden for both the Cervelo Test Team and Team Sky in their debut seasons, Gerrans is an old hand at joining new teams.
The Victorian said the first step in assessing whether or not joining GreenEdge was the right move for his career.
"This might be a new team on paper but it has been 20-years in the making by people like Shayne Bannan and I know the amount of preparation he does to get things right," Gerrans said of the team that is making a bid to become the first Australian team in cycling's top division, the UCI World Tour.
"In some ways joining GreenEdge has a coming home feeling to it as many of the people involved, like Shayne and Gerry Ryan, have been a big part of my career for more than 10 years."
GreenEdge General Manager, Shayne Bannan, says the stage wins by the 31 year old in the Tours of France, Italy and Spain have come not just through his strength but his race smarts and determination, which makes him an important rider on any team.
"Simon is now in the prime of his career with a proven ability to win on the big stage, which made him a target for us right from the start," Bannan said.
"The other big plus with Simon is the example he'll set for the rest of the team, particularly the younger guys.
"As an U23 rider it was touch-and-go as to whether he'd make it as a professional cyclist. But where others would have raised the white flag Simon found a way and has become one of the most complete riders in the peloton."
In addition to his many wins, Gerrans has shown himself to be a contender in the hillier one day races at the beginning of the season with Top10 finishes to his name in all three of the Ardennes Classics.
"I've always targeted the Ardennes Classics and after finishing third at the Amstel Gold Race this year I'm looking forward to preparing specifically for these races again with the backing of GreenEdge," Gerrans said.
"To win Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallone or Liege-Bastonge-Liege would be something special. I know everything would have to go absolutely right for me to be able to achieve that and I'm doing everything I can to give myself the best chance."
Having recently won the Tour of Denmark, with the support of his current team, Gerrans was quick to thank Team Sky for the two seasons he has spent with the British team.
"I've had a really good two-years at Sky and it's been a privilege to ride with a team that has set the benchmark on professionalism," Gerrans said.
"I'm looking forward to riding the rest of this season with Sky and have appreciated the team's understanding in why I made the decision to join a new Australian team."
Among the major targets still to come for Gerrans this season are the Grand-Prix Ouest-France (a UCI WorldTour race to be held on Sunday 28 August), which he won in 2009, and to form part of the Australian team at the UCI Road World Championships to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in late September.
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