Phil Grenfell will join American continental team Competitive Cyclist Racing Team in 2012, with the 22-year-old doing enough to impress team manager Gordon Fraser in this year's Australian National Road Series to seal the move to the professional ranks.
Grenfell rode this season with domestic team BikeBug.com, picking up wins at the Tour of Gippsland, Tour of the Murray River and Tour of Tasmania. Though there had been discussion to stay in Australia, Grenfell felt with the advent of the NRC criterium series, it was a perfect time to make the switch overseas.
"It was a goal I had at the beginning of the year," Grenfell told Cyclingnews. "To have a good season here, get some results, and move over to the US. I just thought that the racing over there suits my characteristics and it’s also a great pathway for progression. [BikeBug.com manager Trent Wilson] thought the same thing. So to be able to actually now be doing it is perfect.
"Going to Europe would’ve been too much too soon. This way I get to go to the US and come back late in the season for a few races in Australia as well."
The Australian explained that Competitive Cyclist Racing's lack of sprinting depth would also allow him plenty of opportunities next seaon. The team dominated the stage racing calendar with Francisco Mancebo, but were not quite as consistent when it came bunch dashes and criteriums.
"That was definitely something that attracted me to the team, the fact that they don’t have that many guys that can finish off a race. Gord [Fraser] was saying to me he felt the team gave away a lot of results [this season] because they lacked a sprinter. That’s a role I hope to fill."
Grenfell will link up with the team in January but is first hoping to win the Australian criterium championship in Buninyong, a race that is likely to be see Grenfell competing against some pretty familiar faces.
"It’ll be against pretty much all the guys from the Tour of the Murray River, Ben Kersten, Jonathan Cantwell, Steele Von Hoff etc. That’s my first big goal for the year, I’ll do Bay Crits to get some good racing in the legs before that and then hopefully I can take it out."
The sprinter joins a growing number of Australians successfully graduating from the domestic circuit to professional careers overseas.
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Alex Hinds, Production Editor
Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.
If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.
Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.
When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.