Orica-AIS have announced the signing of young Australia duo Jessica Allen and Jenelle Crooks after the duo impressed while racing in Europe with the Australian High5 National Team. Both riders will make their debuts with the team at the Tour de Feminin (July 7-10) in the Czech Republic next week.
Allen, the 2011 junior time trial world champion, previously rode with the French Vienne Futuroscope team in 2013 with her consistent performances earning the 23-year-old a contract for the remainder of 2016.
"I'm really excited and so grateful for the opportunity to join Orica-AIS," said the 2014 Oceania road race champion Allen. "I can't wait to learn from some of the best riders in the world and have them help me develop and grow into a better bike racer. Signing a professional contract with Orica-AIS is something I've been wanting for a long time and I can't wait to get the most out of the remainder of 2016 with the team.
"It's thanks to my family and my coach Donna Rae-Szalinski along with other support back home, including my previous teams, for giving me the opportunity to race with them earlier this year which has opened up the opportunity for me to sign with Orica-AIS."
Crooks, 21, started her season with victory in the U23 Australian women's road race before embarking on an European campaign with the national team via Qatar. Last year Crooks won the best young rider classifications at Thüringen Rundfahrt and La Route de France where she was also seventh overall and explained she is looking forward to continue her progression as a cyclist with the team.
"I can't express how excited I really am about joining Orica-AIS for the rest of the season," said Crooks. "I am so thankful for this huge opportunity, knowing I'll be racing alongside and learning from girls that I have always looked up to, and aspired to be like."
"I'm going to make sure I make the absolute most of this experience, to learn and develop as a bike rider as much as I can.”
"They are two young riders who have had some good experiences in Europe," said Bates. "We've been watching them develop racing with the Australian High5 National Team and we were really pleased with the way they have been progressing."
"Everyone is really excited about having new riders join us and we are excited to see how they can progress over the next three months."
While Orica-AIS are skipping the Giro Rosa in 2016, the team has a packed July schedule with the Tour de Feminin to be followed by the Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen (July 15-21), La Course by Le Tour de France (July 24), and the Prudential RideLondon Classique (July 30).