William Clarke will ride with AG2R La Mondiale as a stagiaire through to October after the French ProTour approached the 25-year-old, who recently completed a block of racing in Belgium. Clarke’s Australian squad Genesys Pro Cycling has granted the rider permission to pursue his European dream, with team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston almost as excited as Clarke to hear of the offer.
“This is great for Will, he belongs in the ProTour so hopefully this will see him gain a contract for 2011,” said Christie-Johnston. “Genesys Pro Cycling is a development team - this is what we are all about.
“We have always been happy to see our riders grow and go on to bigger and better things and it just proves that we are succeeding in our mission and the 10 years of hard work are starting to bear fruit,” he added.
Clarke is currently in Monaco with one of Genesys’ former riders – now Saxo Bank star Richie Porte. The Tasmanian is in just his first year as a professional with the Danish team, yet is already a household name having worn the Giro d’Italia’s maglia rosa on the way to a seventh overall finish.
Domestically Clarke has won two stages in Cycling Australia’s National Road Series this year, at the Tours of Mersey Valley and Canberra. He also took a clean sweep at Victoria’s Tour of the Southern Grampians, winning three stages and the overall.
During his six week block in Belgium Clarke won Londerzeel-Sint Jozef, Waasmunster-Ruiter and Wolvertem. Earlier in the season he performed strongly at the Tour de Taiwan, where he finished third overall.