On the eve of the 2016 Tour de France, Cannondale announced that Drapac would become a naming rights sponsor and the WorldTour team would be merging with the Australian Pro-Continental squad. As it finalises its 2017 roster, Cannondale-Drapac have announced that Australian duo Brendan Canty and William Clarke, and New Zealander Tom Scully will be moving across to the WorldTour squad.
Along with the three riders, director sportif Tom Southam moves across to Cannondale-Drapac, as does performance director Keith Flory, with Jonathan Breekveldt to manage the team's European headquarters.
"Teams are deciding what they're going try and be for the upcoming season at this time of year. We’re no different. We've added some bigger guys for the classics like Sep and Taylor," said team manager Jonathan Vaughters of the Taylor Phinney and Sep Vanmarcke signings. "And now with the Drapac guys coming in, we're going after both depth and development.
"Scully and Canty are greener riders we hope to bring along. Clarke has raced at the highest level before and has won some races with the Drapac team already. They should all fit into what we do nicely. The management coming over to the team will help us in myriad areas: on the road, in coaching and training, and in operations."
Canty, 24, will bolster the general classification aspirations of the team with the climber making a quick progression to the top tier of the sport after spending 2014 with Continental squad Budget Forklifts, and 2015 with Drapac. The Victorian made a name for himself by winning the best young rider classification at the Tour of Oman, then claimed his first professional victory at the Tour of Austria in July.
"It's definitely a very exciting time for me, and I think there's plenty to look forward to heading into 2017. It's a dream to be a part of a WorldTour team competing at the highest level of the sport, and I can't wait for things to get started," said Canty who was a runner before taking up cycling. "It's a little crazy to think where I started a few years ago in my first road race, and the situation I am currently in. We haven't sat down yet to talk through my schedule for 2017, but they tend to change anyway. No doubt there will be many races and various opportunities, and I really want to embrace what will be the biggest and hardest season of my career to date."
For Clarke, Cannondale-Drapac is the 31-year-old's third team at WorldTour level after stints with Leopold Trek and Argos Shimano, and comes off the back of his most successful season yet with victory in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour prologue, two stages of the Tour de Taiwan, the Tour of Austria prologue, and stage 3 at the Volta a Portugal.
"I am looking forward to having the chance to participate in the WorldTour again, and also be a part of Drapac's journey to the highest level of the sport. I would like to win some races and help the team win races. I would also like to ride a grand tour, which I still have not done yet," said Clarke who has also proven himself as a breakaway specialist and is of no relation to fellow Australian Simon Clarke who rides for Cannondale-Drapac.
The move to Cannondale-Drapac sees Scully link up with Vaughters once again after he ride as a stagiaire with Garmin in 2012, having spent 2011 and 2012 with the Chipotle-First Solar Development Team. The 26-year-old also claimed a debut professional victory in 2016, winning a stage at the Boucles de la Mayenne and is looking to continue his development with Cannondale-Drapac.
"I'm most looking forward to racing bikes alongside and against the best bike riders in the world, all around the world. I'm also looking forward to learning what I can from staff and riders, as most of them will have been there and done it all before at the WorldTour level," said Scully. "Personally my goals will align 100 percent with whatever the team's goals may be on any particular day. It's early days yet, but I would like to start things off with some strong performances at the New Zealand Nationals in January and build from there."
Along with the trio of Canty, Clarke and Scully, Southam will be reunited with Wouter Wippert and Hugh Carthy who he previously worked with at Drapac and JLT-Condor.
"Tom has all the qualities to be a great leader. He has a natural knack for understanding people and this, together with his keen sense of intuition, mean that any group will be inspired and galvanized by his input," said Cannondale-Drapac head sport director Charly Wegelius.
For The Cyclingnews guide to 2016-2017 rider transfers, click here