Mitchelton-Scott have signed 25-year-old Kiwi Dion Smith to a two-year deal covering the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Smith rode the past two seasons with Wanty-Groupe Gobert after stints with One Pro Cycling and Hincapie Sportswear.
"Reaching the top level in professional cycling is a massive goal of mine, and now I am 25 and about to sign for a WorldTour team, but not only that, with the team that I've aspired to be a part of for years being a rider from the Southern Hemisphere. Mitchelton-Scott has always been an exciting dream," Smith said in a statement released by the team.
Smith started his pro career as a trainee for Pro Continental team Champion System in 2013. He rode a mostly US calendar with Hincapie Sportswear in 2014 and 2015, then jumped to One Pro Cycling for the 2016 season. When that team's 2017 plans fell short of the Pro Continental level, Smith jumped ship to Wanty-Groupe Gobert and found a home for two years.
Smith stepped up his game this year, especially, with top 10 stage finishes at Volta as Algarve, Baloise Belgium Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, Binck Bank Tour, Tour of Britain and the Tour de France, where he took the polka dot jersey on stage 2 and wore it for three days. Smith also was second in the one-day Paris-Chauny and third overall at the Belgium Tour.
"We were looking for a versatile guy, and Dion is a pretty versatile character," said Mitchelton-Scott director Matt White. "He can do a bit of everything. He can handle himself in the flemish Classics, he’s fast but not a pure sprinter, he can climb good, he is a real racer.
"This will be his first WorldTour team. He has been with Wanty-Groupe Gobert for a couple of years after One Pro Cycling, and I think he is ready for that next step into the WorldTour," White said. “He has obviously done two Tour de Frances, but to be regularly racing stage races in the WorldTour will be good for him. I think he will fit into our team very well. A lot of the guys already know him."
The rider from Taupaki, Auckland, joins New Zealand compatriots Jack Bauer, Sam Bewley and Georgia Williams on the Mitchelton-Scott roster.
"I'm stoked to be on a team with lots of guys I look up to and that I am mates with, too," Smith said. "Daryl Impey is a rider I am looking forward to learning from, as he has so many years on me and has progressed in to a world-class rider. I think Michelton-Scott has helped him become the rider he is now, and I see myself becoming a similar rider to Daryl.
"I'm looking forward to using my versatility not only for myself but the rest of the team throughout the next two seasons," Smith said. "I can't wait to get stuck in and pull on some new colours."