GreenEDGE pivotal for Oz cycling: O’Grady
Stuart O'Grady, centre, says GreenEDGE is crucial for Australian cycling. (AAP Image/Benjamin Macmahon)
Stuart O’Grady is one of the reasons why Australian cycling is currently enjoying a boom period. Now, as one of the experienced riders on Australia’s GreenEDGE pro team, he can help his sport make further strides.
O’Grady is an Olympic gold medallist, winner of the Paris–Roubaix, ranked as the hardest of the one-day classics, and four-time runner-up for the green jersey and stage winner at the Tour de France – helping to increase the popularity of the sport throughout the nineties and noughties.
Together with fellow veteran Robbie McEwen, he is charged with not only helping the develop the young Australian talent on GreenEDGE’s inaugural squad but helping to score vital wins in their debut season, such as their success in the first event of the season, the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
Chatting with The Roar during the Tour Down Under, O’Grady reflects on the importance of GreenEDGE and whether it’s the key ingredient that will help cycling breakthrough into the Australian consciousness:
“I was dreaming, hoping, this (GreenEDGE gaining Pro Tour status) would happen sooner rather than later. But it takes a lot; a lot of money, putting the structure in place… it’s a risk. Gerry Ryan (license holder) has taken a risk.
“Cycling can be a very fragile game; going down as quickly as it comes up. But to have him do what he’s done is magic, and I really do think it’ll be here for a long, long time.
“Its arrival is a historical moment for Australian cycling. That’s why I’m here. I didn’t want to be on another team reading about it in the news and not being a part of it. It’s very pivotal to Australian cycling.
“Now we have a feeder team for the young kids out there. Not only can they have the dream of racing in the Tour de France, they can do so in an Australian team, and it’ll make it a lot easier for those youngsters coming through.
“Hopefully some big major sponsors come on board to back us. They only have to look at the figures from the television coverage of the Tour de France alone to see the benefits – a global branding to an audience of millions, which money can’t but in other in more traditional advertising.
“I think Australian sponsors will be fighting off international sponsors to back the team, so they better move quickly!”
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