Despite rumours of a switch to BMC Racing for 2016, Simon Clarke’s agent has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the rider has not yet signed a contract for next season. However, Clarke's agent did confirm that the Australian would leave Orica-GreenEdge at the end of the season and that a number of teams were in discussions to sign the rider.
"We don’t really know where Simon will sign for at the moment. We’re assessing his options and we're in discussions with a number of teams. As the next few weeks progress, we’ll have a clearer picture," Jason Bakker, who also represents Cadel Evans and Caleb Ewan, told Cyclingnews.
Clarke has been with Orica-GreenEdge since their inception in 2012 and enjoyed success, winning stages in all three Grand Tours [two wins came in team time trials at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France - ed.] and the King of the Mountains at the 2012 Vuelta a España.
However, now 29, Clarke believes that it is time to discover a new challenge. He has been linked to BMC, Trek, Astana and IAM Cycling, and although Bakker would not confirm the true interested parties, he did confirm that Astana was currently not a team he'd had met with.
"We’re talking to a number of different squads but I don’t want to name which ones but we’ll see where the best fit is for him and go from there. Of course there are a number of things that go into the decision and it’s not just about the offer. Simon is 29 now and looking for a fresh challenge and really kicking on. He’s been in great form this season."
Bakker added that although Clarke will leave Orica-GreenEdge there was no animosity between the rider and his current team.
"Simon has been there since the start of the Orica team. GreenEdge have an evolving squad and set of goals and I think Simon has done a bit of self-assessment and feels he might be better served with a fresh challenge. There’s still good relationships between him and Orica, and I guess you can never say never but at the moment both parties are mature, transparent, honest and both are ready to go their separate ways."