Mitchelton-Scott announced that Luka Mezgec has accepted a two-year contract renewal that will see him racing with the WorldTour team through 2022. The Slovenian said he is looking forward to working closely with a returning Michael Matthews in the sprints next year.
"My last five years was like a dream to be a professional cyclist and all this was because of the relationships we have here between each other - devotion, work ethics, freedom and trust. We push each other’s limits and we are doing this with having a lot of fun in the process," said Mezgec, who joined the then-Orica-BikeExchange team in 2016.
Mezgec started his career in the WorldTour with Argos-Shimano in 2013, where he spent three seasons before moving over to the Australian outfit. Although he has competed in a total of nine Grand Tours - five times at the Giro d'Italia and three Vueltas a España - he got his first shot at the Tour de France this year, where he placed second on stage 14 into Lyon and second on stage 19 into Champagnole.
"I really had a lot of fun at my first Tour de France," Mezgec said. "The team backed me up really well and surely those bittersweet second places gave me confirmation that I can compete with the best on any race, no matter the name of it."
Mitchelton-Scott announced in August that Matthews will be returning to the team in 2021 after spending four seasons with Team Sunweb. Matthews played an important role with Mitchelton-Scott in their earlier years, between 2013 and 2016.
Mezgec and Matthews raced together during the 2016 season, before Matthews moved to the Sunweb programme. He also spent three seasons working alongside Caleb Ewan in the sprints from 2016 to 2018, before the Australian moved to the Lotto Soudal team.
"Signing Bling [Matthews] was really good information for me, because I was always hoping to do some more lead outs in my career," Mezgec said. "With Caleb, I found this role really fascinating and many times as a sprint train we delivered him smooth in the final 200 metres. To be there, making quick decisions on the road with a sprinter attached on your wheel, is one of the greater feelings I have had in cycling."
Mezgec said he envisions helping Matthews during sprints, but also having his own opportunities to play for victories during hillier races.
"We are both decent climbers, so on trickier courses we will have more cards to play in the finals now. This is how I can have my own chances in the next two years. When the race is open in the hard finals we can play on each other’s attacks to benefit us.
"Overall I’m just looking forward for the next two years knowing that we’ll have a blast out there."
Mitchelton-Scott's head sports director, Matt White, said that he was impressed with Mezgec's performances at this year's Tour de France and that the Slovenian is continuing to improve and fits in well with the team. He also sees Mezgec and Matthews complementing one another in the races.
"He is a guy that has been with this team for a long time and he is a really integral part of the chemistry of this organisation, so for him to continue is one bonus and with the arrival of Bling, the match and the extension is an exciting one," White said.
"I think the combination with Luka and Bling next year is going to be a really good one. I think they will complement each other well, I think a lot of the races that we will target with Bling next year, Luka will be there at crunch moments. But also when we go with them as a combination together, in certain tactical ways they are a formidable two-pronged attack."
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