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The veteran Australian told CyclingTips he’s searching for a late-hour racing contract to keep him in the top-flight pro peloton.
“I just feel like I’m not done with cycling yet, and I feel like I have got more to give, both from a personal point of view and from passing on knowledge to the younger generation,” he told CyclingTips. “I’d still like to do that for a couple more years if there was an opportunity to do so.”
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Clarke is among a handful of riders caught out without a contract after Qhubeka confirmed last week it would be shuttering its WorldTour team this month.
Officials scrambled to find new backers to keep the WorldTour outfit in the pack next season, but could not stitch together something in time to meet UCI criteria.
Qhubeka management said it will maintain its third-tier Continental team while searching for backers to try to revive its top-level pro team in the future.
For riders like Clarke, all that comes too late.
He’s committed to race through the January calendar in Australia to try to find an opening on a WorldTour or ProTeam squad for next season.
“I think it’s going to be difficult. The first difficulty is just finding WorldTour teams that actually have any spots left, because there’s obviously a UCI limit,” he said.
— gilkzxc (@gilkzxc) December 27, 2021
Clarke joined Qhubeka-NextHash in 2021 after stints at Education First and the GreenEdge franchise. Despite having a contract for 2022, he finds himself in a lurch after the collapse of the South African team.
“I have said to myself that I’m going to race the Bay Crits, the National Champs, and the Tour Down Under [Santos Festival of Cycling – ed.],” he said. “And then I’m traveling back to Europe after that. So I’ve kind of set myself a deadline to find a solution by the end of January.”