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American Brent Bookwalter and Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay have both signed one-year extensions with Mitchelton-Scott for the 2021 season, officials confirmed Friday. Both joined in 2019, and their depth and experience will keep them in team colors for at least one more season.
Bookwalter, 36, saw his best-ever one-day performance in 2020 with seventh at Strade Bianche and helped team captains at Ruta del Sol, where Jack Haig was second, and Tirreno-Adriatico, where Simon Yates took the overall victory.
“All things considered with this crazy COVID-19 altered year there’s a lot of positives that I’ve been able to take from the season,” Bookwalter said. “It was another year settling in with the team; I feel more at home, more synced up with the team, coaching staff, performance staff, and my teammates and I think that showed out on the road.
“Individually, the big positive for me was the ride I put together at Strade Bianche. I think it was my best single-day result at a WorldTour one-day race and to do it off the back of the shut down so especially positive and important to me,” he continued. “Becoming a dad this year I was challenged at home and with training to figure out how I was going to put that together and to come out of the break with such a strong ride at Strade Bianchi was really encouraging and inspiring for the coming years.”
Head sport director Matt White said Bookwalter’s experience and professionalism serve as a good example for a trove of younger riders the team is developing.
“Brent is an experienced campaigner, he is a valuable older statesmen for the younger, up-and-coming guys and whatever race program we chose with Brent next year, he is going to be of value to the group in general,” White said. “He still has ambitions to achieve things for himself and also in his role as a worker for our leaders throughout the calendar.”
Bookwalter, who turned pro with BMC Racing in 2008, said he’s already motivated for the upcoming racing season.
“For 2021, I just want to keep continuing where I left off this year, heal up this back injury that I finished the season with at the Giro and then get back to work, helping the team to realize their big goals of trying to win another grand tour and put wins on the board in general,” he said.