Mitchelton-Scott men's team retains Australian core riders for 2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mitchelton-Scott have renewed the contracts of seven riders for 2021 and 2022, confirming the squad's Australian core around stalwarts such as Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer, while continuing to develop the best young Australian talent.

The Australian WorldTour team has already elevated Lucas Hamilton to a future general classification leadership role and now Durbridge, Meyer, Robert Stannard, Callum Scotson, Alex Edmondson, Damien Howson and Nick Schultz have been confirmed as staying with the team. 

The seven riders join their four compatriots Kaden Groves, Lucas Hamilton, Michael Hepburn and 2021 recruit Michael Matthews as the eleven Australian representatives on the 2021 squad. Also staying are Esteban Chaves, sprinter Luka Mezgec, Spanish climber Mikel Nieve and Christopher Juul-Jensen.

Britain's Simon Yates remains as a team leader after his twin brother Adam opted to move to Ineos Grenadiers, while new signings include Amund Grøndahl Jansen from Jumbo-Visma, Tanel Kangert from EF Pro Cycling and Italian neo-pro Kevin Colleoni. 

Daryl Impey will move to Israel Start-Up Nation, Edoardo Affini to Jumbo-Visma and Jack Haig to Bahrain Victorious, while Michael Albasini has retired. 

Matt White remains as senior directeur sportif, with Mitchelton switching from Scott to Bianchi bikes for 2021. Marco Pinotti joins the performance staff.

The future of the Australian WorldTour team looked uncertain due to financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with team owner Gerry Ryan forced to cut back on the financial involvement of his different brands, and riders and staff were obliged to make a significant salary sacrifice.  

The failed takeover talks with the Manuela Foundación led to a senior management change, but the team performed well when racing returned, with Adam Yates wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for four days and fighting to finish ninth overall. 

The team won 16 races during the 2020 season, with Simon Yates taking overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico. He led the team at the Giro d’Italia, but then tested positive for COVID-19, with further cases amongst staff sparking the team's withdrawal from the race on the first rest day.

After the management changes, Ryan confirmed he would continue to fund the team, and new manager Brent Copeland and Darrach McQuaid have worked to build the new roster with an Australian core. 

"This team is the perfect fit because it has that Australian identity, and not just because it's Australian. It's because of that cultural attitude and how we go about our business, where we sacrifice ourselves for the greater good of the result," Durbridge said.  

"You've seen with the big results in this team," he continued. "It's when the team really gels and lays it on the line for each other that the big results come.

"I would like to continue on the same trajectory in the next two years, but I would definitely like to improve my time trial. We have some great young guys, and also Simon Yates. I'd really like to go back to the Tour de France and help the team get a great result there. I really enjoy the Grand Tour role of helping our leaders, and that's something I'm really passionate about," Durbridge said.

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