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Baby blue race rocket with lots of neat touches
Joe Cooper (left) of the New Zealand National Team and Jaques Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) lead the breakaway up a climb on stage seven.
Australian team add strength for general classifications
This year's 10th-place overall finisher at Tour de Langkawi, Joseph Cooper will move from PureBlack Racing to the Genesys Wealth Advisers team in 2013. New Zealand's Cooper has been added to the Australian Continental roster as part of a strategy to bolster the team's general classification ambitions in the tours in Asia and Australia.
Cooper started the 2012 season without a contract and despite interest from Genesys Wealth Advisers team manager Andrew Christie-Johnson, the Australian team missed the moment to sign the 26-year-old Kiwi. Cooper signed for PureBlack and rode out the season racing predominantly within Asia and a few races on the Australian National Road Series calendar.
"I've been interested in having Joe Cooper on the team for a couple of years," Christie-Johnson told Cyclingnews.
"This year I followed up early and had the opportunity to sign him. He's such a strong and talented rider; he time trials well, climbs well and is a very good GC rider. That's something I wanted for next year," said Christie-Johnson.
Cooper achieved his top result of the season early in the year when he finished 10th at Langkawi while also taking solid results including a 5th-place in the prologue at Tour of Thailand and finished in second-place behind Orica-GreenEdge's Christian Meier at Tour de White Rock in Canada.
Unfortunately it would appear Cooper will not be able to better his 2012 result in Langkawi next year as Genesys missed out on the first round of invitations. However, Christie-Johnson told Cyclingnews that he is hopeful the team will still receive an invite. The team were given a late invite this year - two weeks before the race - but had to turn it down due to inadequate time to prepare.
"We are the first reserve [for Langkawi] but we are hoping to get a late start. Internationally, our first race will be the New Zealand Cycle Classic where Cooper will ride for the team. After that it will be Tour of Taiwan," explained Christie-Johnson to Cyclingnews.
Additional signings are expected from the number-one ranked team in Australia as it attempts to win the NRS team title for the third consecutive year in 2013.