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After two years in the professional wilderness, Australian rider Luke Roberts will return to the ProTour with Team Milram at January's Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. Born and raised in the South Australian capital, Roberts signed for the German squad in September, having last competed in the ProTour with Team CSC during the 2007 season.
Roberts has spent the past two seasons with German team Kuota Senges (known as Kuota-Indeland in 2009), having ridden for Bjarne Riis' outfit for the 2005, '06 and '07 seasons, where he completed the 2005 edition of the Tour de France.
His crowning achivement was undoubtedly a gold medal in the team pursuit at the Athens Olympics, although he was plagued by injury during the 2006 and '07 seasons and found it difficult to maintain a consistent program.
His return to form coincided with a clean bill of health and last year he began to re-emerge into the consciousness of cycling fans; in 2008 and '09 he was able to successfully combine a track and road program and featured in several six-day events, winning the Grenoble Six Day in November and taking a top 10 overall at the Tour des Pyrénées - Vuelta a los Pirineos in France during August.
The affable Australian will join German riders Robert Förster, Björn Schröder, Markus Fothen, Artur Gajek and Thomas Rohregger plus Dutch speedster Wim Stroetinga in a balanced team managed by Vittoria Algeri for the opening round of the ProTour.
"While it's great to have the international cycling superstars racing in Adelaide, it is always nice to welcome home one of our own," said fellow South Australian and race organiser, Mike Turtur via press release.
"Milram has selected a team with specialists in all areas," added Turtur. "[Robert] Förster has had stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España and will be one to watch vying for Jayco Sprint points," he said. "As a strong climber, Björn Schröder will also be riding hard here to secure Škoda King of the Mountain points."