Australian cyclist Rachel Neylan has announced that she will join the Geox-Pasta Zara women’s team, after signing a contract to ride for the squad next season. The deal comes off the back of a difficult month for Neylan, who was forced out of the Australian squad for the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong after suffering a serious accident at a training camp in Italy weeks before.
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to race in a world class team also to be able to continue my development and step up [to the] professional ranks of women’s cycling as I progress toward my ever increasingly clear goals,” Neylan wrote on rachelneylan.com.
Neylan’s accident occurred at 65km/h while descending the Passo Stelvio, Italy, after her front tyre punctured, leaving Neylan with a broken jaw. Neylan had plates and screws inserted after being transported to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, that day, but it ruled the former rower out of competing in the world championships on home soil
“It’s been tough few weeks, missing on a potential opportunity to race a home world championships, but I’m motivated with confidence in my future and opportunity in 2011 has helped immensely to know that I’m only at the start,” wrote Neylan. “I have had a successful rehab period over the past six weeks – all injuries are well healed to the extent that I was able to complete it with a return to racing at the pre-Worlds Herald Sun Classic in Ballarat.
“I have put my feet up for a few weeks offseason to refresh mentally before beginning preparation for the 2011 season,” she added.
The Geox team, which will be based off this year’s Footon-Servetto squad, will be one of three ProTour teams to run fully fledged women’s programs in 2011. Garmin-Cervelo will run a women’s program next season after merging with the bike manufacturer, while HTC-Columbia will continue to maintain its women’s squad.