German veteran Judith Arndt will lead the GreenEdge women’s team, GreenEdge-AIS, which has been formally announced today as a joint-venture between the newly-announced ProTour team, Cycling Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.
The reigning World Time Trial Champion will be joined by Copenhagen runner-up Linda Villumsen from New Zealand, 2009 Giro Donne winner Claudia Häusler, and Dutchwoman Loes Gunnewijk who moves across from Nederland Bloeit.
The four internationals will be joined by a strong contingent of Australians: reigning national and Oceania road champion Shara Gillow, Tour de Feminin – Krásná Lipa overall winner Amanda Spratt, Tour de Feminin – Krásná Lipa stage winner Melissa Hoskins, Tiffany Cromwell, Jessie Maclean and Rowena Fry. Gillow, Hoskins and Spratt all move across from the Jayco-AIS team. Fry will divide her time between road and dirt racing as she vies for Olympic selection for mountain bike.
According to a press release, 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,” he added.
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 High Performance Program graduate coach, David McPartland, will travel with the team as Team Director.