Kluge signs for Orica-BikeExchange

Roger Kluge has signed a two-year deal with Orica-BikeExchange to serve as part of Caleb Ewan's lead-out train. The news comes on the day it was confirmed that Michael Matthews will leave Orica-BikeExchange for Giant-Alpecin in 2017.

A stage winner in Cassano d'Adda at this year's Giro d'Italia, Kluge has spent the past three seasons at IAM Cycling, but the Swiss squad announced in May that it was to disband at the end of the current campaign.

"I'm really motivated to get integrated into the team and to play an important role in the sprint train," Kluge said in a statement released by Orica-BikeExchange on Thursday. "I think I can make a really good contribution here and when the team leaders need protection from the wind – I'm happy to go in front.

"If the opportunity comes up and I get the chance, I'd obviously also like to bring home a win here and there, but above all I'll be there to lead out the others to victory."

Kluge was a silver medallist in the points race at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and will represent Germany in the Omnium at next week's Games in Rio. After claiming silver in the discipline at the Track Worlds in London in March, he line up among the favourites in Brazil with Fernando Gaviria, Elia Viviani and Mark Cavendish.

Earlier this week, Caleb Ewan signed a contract extension with Orica-BikeExchange, and sport director Matt White hailed the acquisition of Kluge as a signal of their belief in the young sprinter. Kluge 

"Signing Roger means that we have one of the best athletes in the business to head out our lead-out train for Caleb," White said. "He's a world class track rider but also very established on the road and capable of winning Grand Tour stages on his own.

"For us, he will be a key addition to the work that Luka Mezgec already does really well and going onwards, we will be able to fine tune the way we bring our fast guys in the best possible way to the line."

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