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The Mitchelton-Scott team emphasized its Australian roots by renewing the contracts of no less than seven Aussie riders for the next two seasons. Leading the way are Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer, two veterans of the team.
Durbridge, a four-time national time trial champion, was a founding member of the team and 2021 will mark a full decade under the team colors. Meyer, a multiple world champion on the track current Australian national road champion, first started with the team in 2012 and returned after a year with Dimension Data in 2017. Up-and-coming riders Robert Stannard, Callum Scotson, Alex Edmondson, Damien Howson, and Nick Schultz fill out the roster that also includes four other Australians who have already signed — Lucas Hamilton, Michael Hepburn, Kaden Groves, and Michael Matthews.
“Next year will my 10 years as a professional and I just can’t believe it. It’s gone by so quick and I couldn’t be happier to have made it on this team,” Durbridge said in the official team press release. “When I first became pro it was the first year of the GreenEDGE Cycling and I’ve seen this team grow and evolve over these past 10 years.”
After several years focusing on GC performances by the British duo Adam and Simon Yates, the team returns to a more multi-pronged approach to racing as Adam Yates leaves the team and Michael Matthews returns after several seasons at Sunweb. And while Matthews is not a grand tour contender, the punchy sprinter, who won the green jersey in the 2017 Tour de France as well as stages in all three grand tours, brings real muscle to the team in one-day races or as a stage hunter in multi-day races.
Vander Sande and Smulders sign with Lotto Soudal Ladies
The Belgian Lotto–Soudal women’s team announced the signing of two up-and-coming climbers on the ladies team as 19-year-old Dutch rider Silke Smulders and 23-year-old Belgian Elise Vander Sande both join the squad.
Smulders impressed many this year when the first-year U-23 rider finished eighth at the European Championships. But while Smulders has shown real promise as a climber, she still has little experience in the high mountains. And she hopes her new team will provide such opportunities. “I want to see how far I can get in cycling,” she added. “The step to Lotto Soudal Ladies is a step to become better.”
Vender Sande, at 23, is older, But she is confident that she still has ample room to improve. “I combined cycling with my studies of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy”, Vander Sande said via a team press release. “I graduated at the end of June. It was a choice to first finish my studies. Now, I want to see what I can achieve in cycling. To be able to take my cycling career to the next level I chose for Lotto Soudal.”