Former junior time trial world champion Macey Stewart will return to the professional peloton in 2018 in the colours of Wiggle-High5. The Australian, who also claimed two rainbow jerseys on the track in 2014, stepped away from professional cycling at the end of 2015, citing burn out.
Still only 21 years of age, Stewart will compete on road and track in 2018, and will seek to earn selection on the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games, which take place on the Gold Coast in April.
"I'm so excited and grateful to get the opportunity to race for one of the most professional teams out there," Stewart said in a statement released by Wiggle-High5 on Sunday.
"At the moment I'm doing everything I can to make the Australian Commonwealth Games Team on the Track, then I hope to use that momentum to smash out a solid 2018 road season, finding my feet again at a World Tour level."
A native of Devonport in Tasmania, Stewart enjoyed a sparkling 2014 season as a junior, winning the omnium and team pursuit at the Track World Championships in Gwangmyeong, South Korea. Shortly afterwards, Stewart travelled to Ponferra for the Road World Championships, where she won the junior women's time trial.
Stewart moved up to the professional ranks in 2015 in the colours of Orica-AIS, but opted to take a break from cycling at the end of her first senior campaign. Stewart returned to racing domestically at the end of 2016 with a particular emphasis on the track, and she will now step up to WorldTour level on the road with Wiggle-High5.
"I've been working extremely hard to return back to professional level over the past 9 months and I can't wait to prove that to my teammates and the world," Stewart said. "I'm ready for the challenge and eager to learn as much as I can from my experienced teammates."
Team manager Rochelle Gilmore welcomed the arrival of Stewart at a Wiggle-High5 team that has been active in the transfer market in recent weeks. Although Jolien d'Hoore will leave the team for Orica-Scott in 2018, Wiggle-High5 has signed Kirsten Wild, Lisa Brennauer, Katie Archibald and Martin Ritter for next season.
"Macey Stewart is an exciting signing for Wiggle High5," said Gilmore. "She has won three Junior World Championships and, after a little down time, has decided to join Wiggle High5 in order to make her come back into the highest level of women's World Tour racing.
"Any three-time Junior World Champ must have a lot of talent and Macey will be thrown into a team absolutely full of knowledge and wisdom regarding today's world of women's cycling. We're all super excited to see what Macey can achieve in 2018."