Australian Pro-Continental team Drapac has announced its final 2016 roster with Kiwi Thomas Scully the final signing of the season having previously announced the additions of Nathan Earle (Team Sky), Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge), Jason Lowndes (Neo), Gavin Mannion (Jelly Belly) and Brendan Canty (Budget Forklifts). Drapac will race at the second highest level of the sport for the third year running.
"We have solidified a diverse and strong squad for 2016 and will look to grow our program off the momentum of 2015. We wish continued success to our departing riders in their new opportunities," said general manager Jonathan Breekveldt.
In 2015 Drapac won its first WorldTour stage at the Tour Down Under in January, enjoyed several podium finishes in the US and a Tour of Utah stage win, capping off the year with an invite to the end of season Abu Dhabi Tour.
For 2016 the team has bolstered its WorldTour experience with the additions of Mouris and Earle while Mannion and Canty are two GC talents the team is looking to further develop from 2016. Having ridden as a stagiaire with the team for the last two seasons following his 2013 debut in the sport, Canty is looking to continue his upward trajectory.
"I am truly excited to be racing with Drapac Professional Cycling for the next two years as a neo-pro," said Canty, who won the Tour de Beauce time trial stage this season and recently finished fourth in the Abu Dhabi young rider classification.
"The team has a really strong and diverse race program that will provide ample opportunities to race around the globe against the worlds best cyclists. I believe that I have unique attributes that coincide with the Michael Drapac three pillar philosophy of allowing athletes to perform at the highest level of the sport, whilst cultivating a pathway into life beyond cycling. I look forward to growing with the team, and cannot wait to race with Drapac Professional Cycling in 2016 and beyond."
While the team has welcomed on board six new riders, seven riders are leaving Drapac, including Wouter Wippert as the Dutchman moves up to the WorldTour ranks with Cannondale-Garmin after two successful seasons with the team. Also departing the team is former Swiss national champion Martin Kohler, who joined Drapac after seven seasons with BMC Racing.
Darren Lapthorne has called time on his professional career, and the 2007 Australian national champion will retire after nine years in the peloton.
Dylan Girdlestone, Robbie Hucker, Cameron Petersen and Malcolm Rudolph are the other riders departing at the end of 2015.
Drapac will retain the services of Graeme Brown, William Clarke, Jordan Kerby, Lachlan Norris, Travis Meyer, Adam Phelan, Timothy Roe and Bernard Sulzberger in 2016 as all eight riders have signed extensions with the team.
2016 Drapac Professional cycling squad: Adam Phelan, Bernard Sulzberger, Brendan Canty, Brenton Jones, Gavin Mannion, Graeme Brown, Jason Lowndes, Jens Mouris, Jordan Kerby, Lachlan Norris, Nathan Earle, Peter Koning, Samuel Spokes, Thomas Scully, Timothy Roe, Travis Meyer and William Clarke.