Rachel Neylan joins ORICA-AIS

After struggling with injuries in the past 18 months, Neylan is back on track with a string of good results and a new pro contract

Rachel Neylan, a world championship silver medalist in 2012, will join ORICA-AIS and race with the outfit until the end of the season.

Over the winter in Australia, Neylan, 33, enjoyed her most successful period of racing since the world championships podium.

“I am everything — happy, thrilled, proud, and honored to be part of ORICA-AIS in what is a pivotal and timely step forward in my cycling career,” Neylan said in an Orica press release.

“I have so much admiration for the passion of Gerry Ryan and Shayne Bannan to bring this Australian team to fruition with such success, and it’s something I have worked hard and aspired to be part of since its inception.

“I am thrilled to be able to put my passion, energy, and enthusiasm for my cycling career and channel it into an Australian-owned outfit, and I can’t wait for the road ahead.”

After a difficult 18 months, Neylan captured the attention of many with a second-place performance at the Australian championships in Ballarat in January.

The Sydney-born rider went on to better that performance by winning the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race with a solo victory later that month.

Solid performances at the Oceania Championships and the Tour of New Zealand with the Australian national team capped off a brilliant summer for Neylan.

“I have worked hard to build consistency in my cycling in the past couple of years, and winning the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was a game-changer for me,” Neylan said.

“To sign with ORICA-AIS was the icing on the cake after a great start to the season.”

After much discussion, ORICA-AIS sport director Gene Bates is looking forward to welcoming Neylan to the team in what is a timely boost following the recent collarbone injury to Swedish champion Emma Johansson.

“We are very pleased that Rachel can join us for the 2015 season,” Bates said.

“After her recent successes during the Australian summer, she will add great climbing ability to our stage-racing roster and complement our team perfectly.

“We look forward to a successful season both for her and the team and are looking ahead confidently.”

Neylan’s first race with ORICA-AIS is penciled in for the Cittiglio World Cup on Sunday, March 29.