The young riders who will spend 2014 riding for the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy Team, which provides a pathway for Australia's most talented Under 23 riders into the World Championship, Olympic and Commonwealth Games and professional ranks, was announced in Melbourne on Monday morning.
Headlining the team is Caleb Ewan (NSW) who finished fourth in the under 23 men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships last September, and claimed the U23 road race and criterium national titles in January. Ewan will race with the team before switching to Orica-GreenEdge where we will finish the season as a stagiaire with the WorldTour team he will turn professional with in 2015.
Also returning in 2014 are Campbell Flakemore (TAS), Bradley Linfield (WA) and Alex Clements (SA), while reigning team pursuit world champions Alex Edmondson (SA) and Alex Morgan (VIC) represent the track endurance element of the development squad.
The new members of the team in 2014 are former junior track world champion Miles Scotson (SA) and national U23 time trial silver medalist Harry Carpenter (SA). 18-year-old Robert Power (WA) is the youngest member of the squad and joins the team after winning a silver medal in the road race at the national championships and having just completed the Herald Sun Tour with the U23 Australian team.
"The Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy is the latest incarnation of what is arguably the richest single source of cycling talent in the world of cycling," said Cycling Australia National Performance Director (HPU) Kevin Tabotta.
"Since 1997, it has fostered the development of countless Australian successes at the Olympics, World Championships and also in cycling's monument events. Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews, Matthew Goss, Rohan Dennis, Cameron Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Luke Durbridge and Simon Clarke are just a few of the 17 Academy graduates currently in World Tour ranks.
"It's a privilege for these athletes to be Academy members. It is now up to them to make the most of their opportunities and with the generous investment in the Academy by Jayco and the AIS, we will support them to achieve their goals," Tabotta said.
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Director Matt Favier said the program was an important element of our performance pathway for cyclists.
"We continue to see evidence that the Jayco – AIS World Tour Academy is providing Australian athletes with the right systems and expertise to support their international ambitions.
"Supporting emerging talent is critical and this approach provides Australia’s best young riders with an outstanding performance environment."
Cycling Australia president and Jayco Managing Director Gerry Ryan is pleased to continue working with Cycling Australia and the AIS to provide a pathway for Australia's most talented young riders to progress into international ranks.
"The Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy is an exciting concept which achieved great results last year - including the continued development of two outstanding young riders, Caleb Ewan and Damien Howson," said Ryan.
"Jayco is extremely proud of its relationship with Cycling Australia and we wish all members of the 2014 Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy a successful year, what a fantastic opportunity these young riders have."
Some members of the team will contest the 2014 Oceania Road Championships in Toowoomba, February 21 - 23, before the team embarks on the European road season from early April.