Australian Pro-Continental team Drapac have confirmed Jens Mouris will join the squad for next season as he makes the switch from Orica GreenEdge. Jason Lowndes has also been announced as a signing for the upcoming season as the 20-year-old moves up from the Continental Garneau-Québecor team. The signing of Mouris represents the teams growing ambition for 2016 and beyond as the team's general manager Jonathan Breekveldt explained.
"With the UCI Professional Continental license application for 2016 being finalised, we are looking towards 2016 with a strong set of goals. In 2015, we focused on key aspects with the team and found great success," Breekveldt said. "The 2016 racing program will grow with a push into the Middle East and South America, and will look to add an additional World Tour event. We will expand on this year’s success and further develop the decade-long foundation that is Drapac Cycling."
Sport director Tom Southam added the acquisition of Mouris will enhance the roster and contribute to future successes.
"We are all really pleased to have signed Jens for 2016. He is another rider who I believe will fit in well culturally with our team, and his racing experience is a great addition to our roster," Southam said. "Our key focus for 2016 will be a continued upward trajectory as a team, and I firmly believe that Jens will play a significant part in our success in the future."
Drapac claimed a maiden WorldTour victory in January at the Tour Down Under via departing Dutch sprinter Wouter Wippert who is joining Cannondale-Garmin from 2016. The team also won in North America for the first time in its history through Lachlan Norris at the Tour of Utah.
Having focused on predominately on the Asian racing circuit during its first year back at Pro-Continental ranks last season, 2015 saw debuts at the Tour of California and the Canadian WorldTour one day races, Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.
"We came into 2015 with a keen focus on a North American campaign. As with any race program, you learn from each tour, what works for your program, what you can do better. We found great success in 2015 and we will use those experiences to further our success in 2016," Southam said. "We have a young, yet strong and experienced roster and will make some key additions for 2016.
"Our riders have enjoyed racing the US tours and we plan to again focus on stage wins at the major events including in the US. We are an international team and look to races with international exposure for our title sponsor, Drapac Group."
After several impressive performances racing in Canada, Lowndes joins Drapac and Southam is expecting the young Australian has displayed great potential.
"We are delighted to have Jason on board. He has had his first real year as a full time rider this year, and he was a consistent winner in the North American races. I think that he has a huge amount of talent, and he could develop into a really strong rider over the next two years," Southam said.
Drapac also announced Travis Meyer has extended his contract into a third year after he joined the team from Orica GreenEdge where he was teammates with Mouris.
"Travis has been a key member of the team this year after recovering from a serious accident in 2014, and he has found a really good place for himself in this team. He is a consummate professional and a real asset to have in our line up at almost any race we take part in. As such, he was one of our key signings going forward and we are delighted to have him on board,” Southam said of the former Australian national champion.