Slovenian sprinter Luka Mezgec will join Orica-GreenEdge on a two-year deal after three seasons with Giant-Alpecin in which he claimed the final stage of the 2014 Giro d'Italia. The 27-year-old adds further depth to Caleb Ewan's lead out while offering another avenue to success in bunch sprints. Mezgec is a replacement for Adam Blythe who moves onto Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016 after just one season with the team.
"I've been pro for a few seasons now and I'm ready to take the next step in my career," Mezgec said in a release from his new team. "Doing it with Orica-GreenEdge is really the perfect scenario for me and I'm very thankful for getting this opportunity.
"I see myself as someone who can help out the fast guys on the team in the sprints as a lead-out guy and in more selective races where there are a few hills too. I'm really looking forward to giving everything for the team's ambitions."
Mezgec has just one win to his name in 2015, at the Tour du Haut Var, although has posted top-ten results across the season having also ridden in support of fastmen Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.
"I've been watching from the outside how the team functions and it's clear to see that riders and staff really work well together on and off the bike. The possibility to become part of that is huge for me," Mezgec added.
Sport director Matt White explained he is excited by the prospect of working with Mezgec from next season.
"We are really pleased we have managed to get Luka on board," White said. "He brings us two major things… Number one, he is a winner in his own right. To win a stage in a bunch sprint in the Giro d'Italia and multiple WorldTour events proves that he is at a very high level despite still having a lot of developing to go.
"The second one is that he has had experience working with the best sprinters in the world, in Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, and that is invaluable alongside the likes of Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews."
Mezgec will also ride in support of Michael Matthews for the team and White added his experience was a factor in getting him to join the team considering the young age of Ewan, 20, and Matthews, 24.
"Luka really adds some explosive power to our sprint group," White added. "The best lead out riders are actually world-class sprinters themselves, so it's not only that experience he brings, but he also has the ability to pack a really good sprint himself and that's what you need.
"He is a big boy, more than six foot tall, but he also climbs really well which brings him into the equation for Michael and others, as well as Caleb."