O'Grady agrees to join GreenEDGE
Veteran Australian rider Stuart O'Grady has become the latest big name to sign up with new Australian pro cycling team GreenEDGE.
The 38-year-old Leopard-Trek team member described the decision as the 'hardest' of his career, but he joins Jack Bobridge, Cameron Meyer and Travis Meyer as the first cyclists to sign up with the team.
O'Grady's lengthy career has included riding in the Tour de France on 15 occasions and featuring in five Olympic Games, scooping a gold medal in 2004.
"I've spent quite a few years supporting the Schleck brothers (Frank and Andy) at the Tour de France and Fabian (Cancellara) in the classics and doing that job alongside Jens Voigt," O'Grady said in a statement.
"We've been like a family.
"It's been a privilege racing with those guys and leaving Leopard-Trek to join GreenEDGE has been the hardest decision of my career."
O'Grady explained, however, that the opportunity of racing for an Australian team was one he could not pass up.
"I wasn't sure such a team would come around before I retired but I'm glad it has," he continued.
"I've been racing for a long time and seen the evolution of Australian cycling from guys like Phil Anderson, Neil Stephens and Patrick Jonker to myself as part of the generation that followed and now we've got an impressive group of young riders coming through.
"For a country where cycling is a relatively small sport, the progress in such a short period of time has been incredible."
O'Grady will provide the fledgling team which much-needed experience and play a mentoring role alongside the team's general manager Shayne Bannan, but he also said that he felt winning one-day classics was a logical target.
"There'll be plenty of races the younger guys can go for," O'Grady added, "but that's my major personal goal."