Robbie McEwen joins GreenEdge as rider/coach

Robbie McEwen will get his dream by finishing up his pro career with an Australian team.

Robbie McEwen will get his dream by finishing up his pro career with an Australian team.

The veteran sprinter wanted that this season with Pegasus, but the team collapsed last winter after the title sponsor pulled out at the last minute.

GreenEdge confirmed Thursday that McEwen will join the team as a racer, then as a technical advisor during the 2012 season.

“My role is to ride for the first half of the season, to give me the opportunity to start my position from within the group, a bit like being a captain-coach on the field in football,” McEwen said in a team release. “After that I’ll move into a role, around the time of the Tour de France, to be a tactical advisor.”

“It’s a similar role to the one Erik Zabel has been doing for the past few years at HTC-Highroad, scouting the finishes and informing the guys of what’s coming up and what I think might be the best way to tackle it.”

The on-the-road leadership role is one McEwen will share with Stuart O’Grady. McEwen said he’s looking forward to working with his former rival, who he labelled as one of the best tactically and the perfect guy to guide the team on the road.

Throughout his professional career, which started in 1996, McEwen has ridden for Dutch, Belgian and American teams. He said getting the chance to ride in an Australian team only adds to his motivation to put in another big pre-season.

“To finally get the opportunity to be part of an Aussie team, who wouldn’t be excited?” McEwen said. “A few of my future colleagues, and future teammates, have already said this is a dream that has been 20 years in the making and I absolutely want to be a part of that whole experience.”

Other riders confirmed for the Aussie team include: Daniel Teklehaimanot, Tomas Vaitkus (Astana), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-SunGard), Svein Tuft (Spidertech), Simon Clarke (Astana), Simon Gerrans (Sky), Matthew Wilson, Cameron and Travis Meyer, Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervélo), Stuart O’Grady (Leopard-Trek), Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil-DCM), Pieter Weening and Sebastián Langeveld (Rabobank).