Simon Clarke will race for Slipstream Sports for the next three years, the team announced today. Clarke will return for 2018 as the team morphs from Cannondale-Drapac into EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale. Clarke's new deal will take him through the 2020 season.
"I re-signed with this team because I've really found my niche here in Slipstream," Clarke said in a statement released by the team. "I think it's really important to find your spot in a WorldTour team, and knowing that I've carved out a place for myself here, there was always motivation to stay."
Clarke, 31, joined Cannondale-Drapac in 2016 after four seasons with Orica. In those two years his best result was a win at the GP Industria & Artigianato in 2016, but his value as a road captain was highlighted at the 2017 Tour de France, where Rigobero Uran finished second overall, and at the 2017 Vuelta a España, where Michael Woods climbed seventh overall and Davide Villella won the mountains classification.
"Simon is tactically astute with a well-developed ability to share his experience and knowledge with his teammates," said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. "This makes him a very valuable member of this team. I'm happy we could secure his services for another three years, and I expect Simon to continue to play a part in our most important results."
In his 12 years as a pro, Clarke has four wins, including the GP Industria & Artigianato, a stage at the 2012 Vuelta, and a stage and the overall win at the 2014 Herald Sun Tour. With Slipstream, he has developed into a mentor for the younger riders.
"When I look at this team, I see so much potential," Clarke said. "I truly believe that if I can make the guys more united, if I can help the group ride more cohesively as a team, I can help us all fulfill our potential. I'm really motivated when I see young guys going well or guys like Mike Woods, with huge talent and little experience, make massive improvements.
"This is a group that is extremely responsive out on the road," Clarke said. "That has converted into some great results. With the right guidance, this group can do great things, and I'm really excited to be a part of that for another three years."
"With a great new sponsor in EF Education First coming in and offering a long-term commitment to Slipstream, I really wanted to lock-in a longer contract that showed my dedication to the team and its vision for the future alongside my own," Clarke said. "A longer-term agreement allows me to put a real effort into helping the younger guys that are coming into this team next year."