Aussie Nathan O'Neill enters the 2006 season with a new team, his fifth in just five years. However, his new contract with Health Net-Maxxis is a two-year deal, a rare feeling of job security in the often less-than-secure field of professional cycling. Cyclingnews'Mark Zalewski nabbed a quick chat with the six-time Australian time trial champion at the Health Net-Maxxis/Cannondale presentation in Santa Monica earlier this month.
Nathan O'Neill has ridden for more than a few teams during his career - from his national team in Australia, to a European squad in the form of Panaria, to his most recent tenures as a GC and time trial rider for three top North American teams, Saturn, Colavita and Navigators. Finding a consistent team has been difficult for O'Neill, as has finding a consistent season, with many injuries getting in the way. Yet, despite this, one constant for him has been six Australian national time trial victories - beginning in 1996 and most recently in 2004 and 2005.
After spending three years riding in 'the show' for a European team, O'Neill decided to cross the pond to try racing in North America for the powerhouse Saturn. After many time trial victories in 2003, Saturn closed up shop and O'Neill moved to Colavita. Again, he won many time trial and prologue races, but decided to switch to Navigators Insurance in 2005. Here, he continued his time trial prowess, which earned him eighth overall in the Tour de Georgia and first overall in the Tour de Beauce. With an impressive list of palmares, teams began knocking on O'Neill's door in Braselton, Georgia.