Posted by Editoress on 12/6/11
GreenEDGE, Cycling Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) have launched a joint venture initiative to deliver Australia’s first top-level UCI professional women’s cycling team.
The team will race as GreenEDGE-AIS and aims to develop and enhance Australian women’s road cycling. GreenEDGE and CA/AIS High Performance Program staff will jointly manage the team and a key objective is to provide a high performance pathway for Australia’s female cyclists to forge a professional career.
The partnership ensures GreenEDGE-AIS will have access to the best skills, services and experience available within the CA/AIS High Performance Program structure.
Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib says the Australian Government was pleased to see the partnership between the Australian Institute of Sport, Cycling Australia and GreenEDGE supporting Australia’s best female riders on the world stage.
“Having an Australian backed team competing against the world’s best riders will not only provide the best competition for our elite athletes but also a pathway for our talented young riders” Senator Arbib said.
Cycling Australia CEO, Graham Fredericks, says he’s excited the project has come to fruition.
“Cycling Australia is proud to be involved in this joint venture that is part of our overall strategy to develop women’s cycling,” said Mr Fredericks.
“The team will have access to the very best resources and support within a professional structure thanks to the cooperation of the three key partners,” he said. “We want this team to set the standard for international women’s cycling while we continue to develop the National Road Series as the breeding ground for talented female cyclists.”
Tiffany Cromwell, Shara Gillow, Melissa Hoskins, Jessie Maclean and Amanda Spratt are the five Australians on the on the nine-rider squad. Spratt, Hoskins and Gillow enjoyed breakthrough performances in Europe this year.
Spratt won the Tour de Feminin - Krásná Lipa in the Czech Republic in July ahead of Hoskins. Gillow claimed the 2011 Australian and Oceania time trial titles and was the Oceania road race champion. She also won stage two of the Giro Donne (Women’s Tour of Italy) to take the leader’s pink jersey before finishing ninth overall. Cromwell brings climbing prowess to the squad while Maclean adds options in sprint finishes.
The Australians will be joined by an international contingent headlined by reigning time trial world champion Judith Arndt. The German joins GreenEDGE-AIS from HTC-Highroad. Along with her rainbow jersey, Arndt brings a wealth of experience to the young squad. World championship time trial silver medalist Linda Villumsen (NZL), former Giro Donne winner Claudia Häusler (GER) and Dutch national team regular Loes Gunnewijk round out the squad.
On the basis of the rider’s current rankings the GreenEDGE-AIS team will sit third in the UCI teams classification.
GreenEDGE Cycling General Manager, Shayne Bannan, will co-manage the women’s team alongside Cycling Australia’s National Performance Director Kevin Tabotta.
“We consider this team an authentic Australian venture,” said Bannan. “We have contracted some of the top international riders to ensure the team has sufficient points to guarantee starts in the world’s major events. They will also act as mentors for the younger, developing riders. We will look to our international riders to provide the leadership and experience necessarily to create a culture of success. It’s our hope this culture will flow down through the domestic women’s development programs.”
Bannan says he expects the make-up of the team to evolve over the next three years to include a stronger representation of top level Australian riders.
“While we will register only nine athletes with the UCI for the January 1 season start, there exists the potential to add neo-pros and other non-contracted Australians during the year,” added Bannan.
Cycling Australia National Women’s Road Coach, Martin Barras, has been heavily involved in the set up of the team and will maintain an oversight role as Technical Director. CA/AIS HPP graduate coach, David McPartland, will travel with the team as Team Director.
Both the GreenEDGE-AIS women’s team and the GreenEDGE men’s team will be officially launched during the Santos Tour Down Under in January in Adelaide.
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