Nathan Earle signs two-year deal with Israel Cycling Academy

Former Team Sky rider raced with Japanese Continental team this year

Israel Cycling Academy continues to bolster its 2018 roster with the signing of 29-year-old Australian Nathan Earle. Earle raced with Team Sky in 2014 and 2015, spent 2016 with Drapac Pro Cycling and then moved to Japanese Continental team UKYO this year.

"For me this is the biggest signing of my career," Earle said in a statement released with the team's announcement.

"I can't wait to race back in Europe and have the challenge of racing some of the biggest races again. I couldn't think of a better team to do this with, and I am looking forward to the journey. I believe I am yet to see the best of my ability and I'm excited to see how far I can push myself whilst growing with Israel Cycling Academy."

The Pro Continental team has been steadily building its 2018 roster with hopes of gaining entry to the Giro d'Italia, which will start in Jerusalem next year. The team has already added seven new riders, including Ben Hermans from BMC Racing an Ruben Plaza from Orica-Scott.

Team director Kjell Carlström said Earle's role within Cycling Academy will be more well defined during the year, but he sees Earle providing support for the general classification riders as well as taking his own opportunities.

"My idea is that he can continue to grow as a rider, seize his chances in some races and be a valuable helper for Ben [Hermans] and Ruben [Plaza] in some hillier and tougher races," Carlström said.

Earle, who won the Tour of Lombok this year and was second at the Tour of Japan, expects to race in everything from the Classics to stage races.

"I love a good lumpy one-day race and getting into the mountains," he said.

Earle started his career at the Continental level with Australian team Praties. In 2013 he won stages at the Tour of Taiwan and Tour of Japan, garnering a two-year contract with Team Sky, where he played a domestique role.

He moved back to the Pro Continental level with Drapac in 2016, but when that team merged with Slipstream's Cannondale WorldTour team, Earle was left out in the cold wondering if he should retire. He landed a spot with the Japanese team for 2017 and then capitalized on the opportunity.

"It's how you weather the storms and tough times that make you a better person and athlete and make winning that much sweeter when you come out the other side," he said. "I believe in hard work and when a win, or even a teammate's win, comes from that hard work it's a feeling you don't forget."

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