Five new riders for next season
Having had its most successful season in 2013, search2retain p/b health.com.au is looking to improve in 2014 with the recruitment of several exciting riders. The new roster comes on the back of the announcement in October that the team's partnership with the Singaporean OCBC Continental Cycling Team would extend to the end of 2015.
"Our collaboration arrangement with OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling team has made rider recruitment both harder and easier," said team principal Peter Shandon. "When we are looking at a new rider, we are actually thinking about how they will fit into OCBC and if they have the capacity to step up to that next level of racing overseas in UCI races."
OCBC's commitment comes on the back of a successful Subaru National Road Series (NRS) were the team finished fifth in the team classification.
Joining the team in 2014 are Michael Rice, Patrick Bevin, James Hepburn, Brendan Canty and Stuart Shaw. James Hepburn and Stuart Shaw have proven themselves in the NRS while the other riders are less well known to Australian cycling fans.
There have been several departures from the team with Neil van der Ploeg joining Huon-Genesys while Eric Sheppard and Cameron Bayly are moving on having been offered contracts with the OCBC Continental Cycling team.
The team has retained the services of Alistair Donohoe, Angus Tobin, Oliver Kent-Spark, Stuart Smith, Tim Guy and Tom Donald.
Bevin has spent the past four years racing in the US with Bissell Pro Cycling. Bevin moved back to Australia having been attracted to "the overall vision of the team, creating a culture based on ethics that will contribute to becoming a strong team."
"I look forward to racing the NRS which is really going from strength to strength," said Bevin. "I believe that we are setting ourselves up for a really great year."
Hepburn is looking forward to a new environment and the opportunity that search2retain/health has offered him.
"It will be great to join the awesome team atmosphere with a great bunch of guys," he said. "After struggling with a few injuries over the last year I'm finally back to my best and can't wait for what lies ahead with the team."
New recruit Shaw has already impressed team manager Mark Isaacs while at Drapac.
"Picking up Shaw was a real bonus for the team as he is a great mentor and highly motivated to race," explained Isaacs.
Having taken a step back the professional scene, Shaw is reinvigorated and ready to race in 2014.
"This is a winning team and I am looking forward to taking all my experience on the road to help the team step up and win against the strongest teams in Australia and Asia," said Shaw.
In his debut road race Brendan Canty was impressive in soloing to victory at the 2013 Stratford to Dargo. Canty's win brought him to the attention of NRS teams as a raw talent.
While accepting that he has "heaps to learn" Canty is assured that "search2retain-health will provide the right environment" and is looking "forward to being a part of the team during the 2014 season."
With the new additions to the squad and having secured the commitment of OCBC, Isaacs is expecting a bumper year in the NRS throughout 2014 for search2retain/health.
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