For a brand new team that’s hardly got a ProTour race under its collective belt, GreenEdge has been subjected to a fair about of questioning about their roster composition.
From day one team manager Shayne Bannan’s hiring strategy was “sign a sprinter, sign another sprinter, hire two or three more sprinters.” Some critics were left wondering if that was such a good plan but Bannan is sticking by his guns.
“Not having a GC rider makes you more flexible,” he said. “When you have a GC rider you tend to be very focussed [on the Grand Tours], as you should be, because you spend a lot of money on GC riders.
“Structuring the way we have, it gives us the flexibility to concentrate on most events. We’ll definitely look at that being the focus for the first two years.”
Twisted Spoke thinks Bannan made a wise move in bringing a tight and unwavering focus to GreenEdge’s rider selection. It reminds us of what Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters accomplished several years ago.
Vaughters wanted to make an impact in the grand tours as Garmin begin to step up in stature. He didn’t have a sprinter and have yet to develop a real GC rider so he chose to focus the team’s efforts on signing excellent time trial riders. Pretty soon he had David Millar, Bradley Wiggins, Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde. The argyle genius was a fine rider against the clock back in the day and he had particular insights into that specific discipline.
Instead of a scattershot roster, Garmin quickly became a team that was always competitive in a grand tour team and individual time trial. This approach got the squad off to a strong start and quickly gained them invaluable media coverage.
For his part, Bannan looked at the Australian talents available and saw plenty of fast guys and former fast guys who could mentor them. With Matthew Goss, he has a talented, confident rider ready to challenge anyone — even Cavendish — in a sprint. Old pros Stuart O’Grady and Robbie McEwan are there to share experience and speed development. (If you think Erik Zabel was a big help to Cavendish, wait till you see what McEwen does for Goss.)
This is classic business strategy: don’t try to be everything to everybody — that leads to mediocre results and failure. Instead focus on what you do best. We say GreenEdge will get up to speed very very fast on the ProTour Circuit and at the Tour Down Under. That’s intentional: it’s a team of sprinters.