GreenEDGE venture launched in Adelaide

GreenEDGE Sporting Director Neil Stephens interviewed (Image: Cycling Central)
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Australia's latest bid for a top-level professional cycling team has declared it has the massive financial backing necessary to start racing next year.

After months of speculation, GreenEDGE launched on Monday in Adelaide.

Team general manager Shayne Bannan, the former national performance director at Cycling Australia, would not comment on who is backing the project.

But it is well-known that the Melbourne-based Ryan family, which owns the Jayco caravan empire, is heavily involved.

Gerry Ryan is a long-time backer of Australian cycling and his son Andrew will be a GreenEDGE director.

The team aims to gain a ProTeam licence and be competing this time next year, with the ultimate aim of racing at the Tour de France.

"We have many challenges, it's not an easy process," Bannan said.

"We have worked very hard to get to this point, we're in a really good position."

The aim will be for GreenEDGE to gain one or more major sponsorships, either locally or overseas, and become sustainable over the next three years.

The team will run on a budget of 10-16 million euros ($A13.50-21.65 million).

Several bids for a top-level Australian team have floundered, mainly because of financial issues.

The most recent failure was the Pegasus project, which failed late last year to gain a pro-continental licence.

Bannan would also not be drawn on which Australian riders the team will target in their recruiting, only saying any pro-cyclist out of contract at the end of this year would be approached.

He confirmed former top-level rider Neil Stephens would be a sports director on the team.

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