Orica-GreenEdge announced today the signing of Italian champion Ivan Santaromita for 2014. The 29-year-old had a breakthrough season this year: in addition to winning his national title, he won a stage of the Giro del Trentino, his first victories since 2010.
Santaromita is the first Italian signed to the predominantly Australian squad, but directeur sportif Matt White is sure the transition will be smooth.
"People in our management have known Ivan for a long time," White said. "He's been with English speaking teams before, and we are confident that he'll fit in easily."
White said the Italian champion's jersey is "revered" in Europe, and in addition to helping boost the team's profile in Italy, Santaromita will bring more climbing power to the team.
"There's one area we are starting to bolster and that's in our climbing," says White. "Ivan certainly does bolster that. We'll target a lot of the Italian races with Santaromita."
Santaromita has spent the past three years with BMC, and before that had a three-year stint with Liquigas and two years with Quickstep as a neo-pro, but says Orica will give him new opportunities.
"I feel like this team will give me the space to grow as a rider," Santaromita said. "I look forward to helping my new teammates to even more success. When given the opportunity, I would obviously also like to repay their faith in me with some results along the way. I think my strengths are mainly in the stage races and hopefully I can be an asset to the team there.
"I'm really pleased to get this opportunity with Orica-Greenedge. I know a lot of people there already and the team has a great reputation in the peloton. I'm proud to be the first Italian that the team signs up. Plus, it will be a great way to show my national champion's jersey."