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Cycling boss cautious about Grand Tours

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

The boss of Australia's WorldTour cycling team remains cautious about their Grand Tour prospects, despite a breakthrough season.

Shayne Bannan said it would be premature to say the rebranded Orica-Scott team could achieve an overall win at one of the three Grand Tours in the next two years.

The team originally known as Orica-GreenEDGE and then Orica-BikeExchange was founded in 2012 to focus on the one-day classics and stage wins in the three Grand Tours - the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

But this year their Colombian star Esteban Chaves finished runner-up at the Giro and third at the Vuelta.

British rider Adam Yates was fourth at the Tour de France and won the young rider category, while twin brother Simon was sixth at the Vuelta.

Chaves is 26 and the Yates brothers are 24, while riders often do not contend in the three-week Grand Tours until their late 20s or early 30s.

"If you look at our list, there's some of the best young talent in the world that still is progressing, that's still developing," Bannan told AAP.

"(Chaves and the Yates) are still relatively young in terms of Grand Tour riders ... it's still about a process.

"Every WorldTour team has ambitions of winning a Grand Tour during their existence and ours is no different.

"But it's still a process and development takes precedence at this stage - it would be a bit premature of us to say that we can achieve it in the next year or two.

As they morph into legitimate Grand Tour contenders, Orica-Scott's financial backing has also developed.

The team was renamed before this year's Tour de France to Orica-BikeExchange.

They will lose Orica as a title sponsor at the end of 2017, but Scott's added financial commitment should mean a smooth transition while they look for extra backing.

Scott has been the bike supplier for the men's and women's teams in the GreenEDGE organisation since it started.

Businessman Gerry Ryan also remains a key backer of the team.

Their women's team will also become Orica-Scott, meaning the two squads share the same name for the first time since GreenEDGE was formed.

The women's team was formerly known as Orica-AIS.

The teams' new kits will be worn in competition for the first time at the opening round of the Mitchelton Bay Classic series in Geelong on January 1.

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