Drapac Professional Cycling will round out its 2014 roster with the signings of Australian trio Will Clarke, Travis Meyer and Adam Phelan.
The announcement comes following previous news that the 16-man squad will include Jack Anderson, Jonathan Cantwell, Jai Crawford, Floris Goesinnen, Robbie Hucker, Ben Johnson, Jordan Kerby, Darren Lapthorne, Lachlan Norris, Tom Palmer, Malcolm Rudolph, Bernard Sulzberger and Wouter Wippert.
Team Manager Jonathan Breekveldt is said that the three riders have a lot to offer Drapac Professional Cycling, with the team's application to upgrade to UCI Professional Continental status for next season, currently in the hands of the sport's governing body.
"Having Travis back on the team is very exciting as he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his four years in the WorldTour," he said. "He has always been a selfless domestique but in 2014, will be one of our key riders and have those years of riding for others repaid. I think we will see a rejuvenated Travis racing in events which better suit his abilities and the added motivation of being given the opportunity and support of the team to seek personal triumph.
"Will, similar to Travis, will bring plenty of valuable knowledge having raced three years in the WorldTour and also extensively throughout Asia and the USA which are both critical markets for the team next year," Breekveldt continued. "He has an incredible amount of talent, which was probably best displayed when he won Stage 2 of the 2012 TDU, and given the correct opportunities and a more specific racing program should further prove this.
"We were trying hard to help Adam obtain a World Tour contract for next season but due to the current climate this was not possible," Breekveldt explained. "Adam is a highly talented young rider who has already been with the team for three years and we look forward to helping develop him further in the coming years."
Rouleur Will Clarke, 28, a former winner of the selective Stirling stage of the Tour Down Under, hardened by his debut this year at the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, said that he was looking forward to joining the Australian-registered outfit.
"I really liked Drapac for the fact that they are a really well-respected Australian team that has been around since 2004, they are well established in the cycling world and they are really moving forward," he said. "I wanted to be a part of this growing team so they can help me develop into a better athlete. It really appeals to me to be a part of Drapac, and being an Australian I think I will feel quite comfortable and at home."
Clarke, who has spent 2013 racing for the ProTour team Argos-Shimano, is set to relocate to his former Tasmanian base on the family farm, and is relishing the opportunity to rediscover some stability with his support network. According to Clarke, the tough conditions of the Apple Isle are ideal for training and has produced some of Australia's best cyclists.
"The training is great and I'm looking forward to my dad helping me with my training again."
Clarke expects to be one of quite a few Drapac riders to be in-line for a start at the Tour Down Under and is getting ready to begin his build-up to an all-important January when the new Professional Continental team is unveiled to the world.
"I would like to get myself in good shape for nationals in January and then the TDU and hopefully I can do well there then," he explained. "Hopefully I get the chance to ride in the TDU next year; I have had quite a bit of experience there now. The TDU is my favourite race of the season, so to get the chance to race it with Drapac being an Australian team will be really an unbelievable experience and honour. I think it will be a great way to start the season off for the team."
Australian Road Champion from 2010, Travis Meyer, makes the move to Drapac following two seasons with Orica GreenEdge.
"I am happy to announce that I have been offered a place with Drapac Professional Cycling for 2014 and I am really looking forward to racing with them next season," he said. "To be a part of Australia's only Pro Continental team and a team that has been supported by Michael Drapac for nearly 10 years is a real privilege. I hope to make the most of this opportunity I have been given."
Meyer is a former world and national champion on the track in the junior ranks while on the road, which he switched to full-time in 2011, he won the overall at the Tour de Berlin Under-23 in 2008 and has had top-10 stage finishes at the Tour of Britain, Bayern Rundfahrt, Tour de Langkawi and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
Like Tom Palmer, Meyer is also a graduate of Drapac's track development program.
Finally, Adam Phelan returns to Drapac as a neo-pro having spent the last two seasons predominantly in Europe racing with the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy. The Canberra-native has been with the team since 2011. Phelan believes that leaving the under-23 ranks for the familiar territory of Drapac will work in his favour.
"Leaving under-23 level, it is almost as though you are losing a big safety net; no longer can you be categorised differently to the best riders in the world, you are the baby once again and the big wide world of professional cycling can seem pretty daunting," he said. "But being able to move out of the under-23's and to a new Pro Conti level with the familiar, positive and exciting environment that is Drapac, will make that transition far more comfortable and it is perfect for my development as rider.
"It's also incredibly exciting continue on with this team and join them on their journey as they take the next step up moving to Professional Continental, it feels right to be apart of an Australian team that I've called home over last few years as they tackle some of the bigger races across the world," Phelan concluded.
Winner of the 2012 GP de Poggiana, Phelan had an impressive run this season without breaking through for a victory, runner-up in the GP Liberazone and scored top-10 overall finishes at The Olympia's Tour and Thüringen-Rundfahrt, U23. The 22-year-old is hoping that some of the shorter stage races will bring out his best.
"I'd love to show what I can do in a tour and as a GC rider," Phelan admitted. "I'm also exited to go back to some of the races in Asia. I had my first race overseas in Asia and after racing a couple seasons in Europe will be good to go back and try and get some results there. Also being in a team that has a number of quality sprinters, I'm looking forward to being a part of a lead out and really improving that aspect of my racing."