Tasmanian cyclists Richie Porte and Will Clarke are equally excited about teaming up in the sport’s top-flight next year.
Just over a week after confirming Porte’s signing for 2019-20, Trek-Segafredo has announced that Clarke will be joining him.
Regular training partners around Tasmania each summer, the 33-year-olds said they couldn’t wait to team up for the first time since they were on Andrew Christie-Johnston’s Hobart-based Praties team a decade ago.
“I'm really happy to be riding with Richie,” Clarke told the cyclingnews website.
“We last rode together in 2008 on the Praties Team where he won the Tour of Tasmania. I hope to assist him and the rest of the team in winning some big WorldTour races now. I am really motivated to get the best out of myself for the team.”
Porte, of Launceston, who is contesting the Vuelta a Espana as he prepares for a shot at the road world championships in Austria, also said he would enjoy teaming up with Clarke having crossed paths at numerous races across Europe and Australia since their Praties days.
The BMC team leader’s two-year contract was confirmed in late August as he returned to racing following a crash at the Tour de France.
Clarke, of Campbell Town, has also signed for two years after five with Drapac, having previously ridden with AG2R La Mondiale as a trainee, Genesys Wealth Advisers in the continental ranks in 2010, Champion System in pro-continental in 2012 and previous WorldTour stints with Leopard-Trek (2011) and Argos-Shimano (2013).
“It's a huge opportunity for me to be joining Trek-Segafredo,” Clarke added. "It's a big professional team that I have always admired, and I really can’t wait to go back. Leopard-Trek was my first professional team, so I'm looking forward to working again with some familiar faces.”
Also confirming the signing of Luxembourg's Alex Kirsch who moves up to the WorldTour ranks after spending the last two seasons with WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic, Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena praised Clarke’s capabilities as a strong time technical trialist who has won stages at the Tour Down Under, Tour de Taiwan, Herald Sun Tour, Tour of Japan and Volta a Portugal.
“Obviously we know Will and Alex already, and we know they are both very powerful riders,” Guercilena said.
“We are convinced they will be valuable assets for the team. Will will reinforce our team time trial squad, and Alex will be of great help in the classics. With them, we have a solid base for our classics team and our group for the stage races.”
He added: “Richie is a remarkable cyclist that has shown his capacities in the past, and I am confident he still has great results in him for the next few years.”