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Bookwalter handed contract extension at Mitchelton-Scott for 2020

Mitchelton-Scott's Brent Bookwalter at the 2019 GP Cycliste de Montréal
Mitchelton-Scott's Brent Bookwalter at the 2019 GP Cycliste de Montréal
(Image credit: Getty Images)

US rider Brent Bookwalter has extended his contract with WorldTour outfit Mitchelton-Scott, taking him into his second season with the Australian squad, the team has announced.

Before signing with them for the 2019 season, Bookwalter had spent 11 seasons at the BMC Racing Team, which included being part of teammate Cadel Evans' Tour de France-winning squad in 2011.

However, the team-change brought with it a slight change of fortune for a rider that has enjoyed a career rarely unhindered by injury or illness, and Bookwalter admitted that things hadn't always gone entirely smoothly. Those setbacks include having become ill during the second week of the Giro d'Italia, forcing him to pull out, and then not racing for the following couple of months.

"In some ways, it's been a long season. I think I underestimated the challenge of change, but I maybe also underestimated the positivity, inspiration and invigoration it also brought," said Bookwalter in a team press release. "I was a little smacked in the face with the change after being in the same place for so long, but it was a breath of fresh air to help find my best self.

"I didn't check off all the boxes or finish all of the business that I set out to do this season, but it's given me some perspective on what it takes to be a cyclist at the top level," he continued. "It has made me realise I have been really fortunate over 10 years to have been really consistent and really healthy, and this year was one of my least healthy or productive seasons.

"That said, there are still moments I look back on and I'm proud of. I'm coming out of the season better than when I went in, on different levels than I would have expected," added Bookwalter.

"At this point of my career, I'm pretty open in terms of my race programme. It's more about how I can best utilise my experience and my skills to contribute to this team in the most impactful way possible. The little taste I got of doing that with Simon and Adam this year in the GC races and it's something I'd like to continue doing," the 35-year-old said, referring to the Yates brothers, who head up the team's hopes at Grand Tours, with Simon Yates having won the 2018 Vuelta a España.

"Brent has, by his standards, had a year he probably wants to forget," head sports director at Mitchelton-Scott, Matt White, said. "He has had some illnesses and untimely injuries, but he is an experienced campaigner and we brought him to the team because we see the value in his experience and his leadership.

"The reason he is staying is because we know things happen in a career and in a season, but we know how hard he is working and we know the value to the team he can be," he said.