THREE Tasmanians will team up to help the Drapac team adjust to its new-found pro-continental status next year as cycling's traditional end-of-season merry-go-round clicked up a gear this week.
Drapac has announced that Campbell Town's experienced World Tour stager Will Clarke and Hobart workhorse Jai Crawford will team up with Flowery Gully's Bernie Sulzberger as the outfit becomes Australia's only pro-continental team next year.
``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,'' said Clarke, who joins with compatriots Travis Meyer and Adam Phelan.
``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.''
For the second time in his roller-coaster career, the 28-year-old former middle distance runner is stepping down to the pro-continental ranks after an exhausting season in the sport's top flight.
Clarke rode last season for Argos-Shimano having previously been dumped by Andy Schleck's Leopard-Trek outfit.
Tasmanian Institute of Sport cycling coach Gene Bates did not necessarily see Clarke's move as a backward step.
``He is dropping down a level but is likely to be playing more of a leading role in races,'' Bates said.
``Will and Travis Meyer are guys who have been working tirelessly for their teams but now might get chances to ride for victories themselves.''
Drapac is expected to race in Australia, Asia and especially America where it is likely to seek a start in events like the Tour of California.
Crawford, 30, becomes the latest member of Andrew Christie-Johnston's Hobart-based Huon Salmon-Genesys team to step up, just a couple of months after it was announced that teammate and fellow Hobartian Nathan Earle would be joining Hadspen's Richie Porte at Team Sky.
Bates did not know who Sulzberger's brother Wes was likely to ride for if he leaves Orica-GreenEDGE.
The World Tour regular, who turned 27 on Sunday, is out of contract at the end of the year and after the Tour of Beijing tweeted: ``Really enjoyed my last race with the @Orica-GreenEDGE guys! Thanks to all riders and staff!''
Bates said World Tour places were at a premium after it was announced that Spanish team Euskaltel-Euskadi was set to shut down after 17 years.
Sulzberger's sister Grace was announced this week to be joining the women's team at GreenEDGE.