Earle was left without a ride for this season following the merger of his Drapac team with Cannondale from January 1 to form the Cannondale-Drapac team. The 28-year-old recently told Cyclingnews that the upcoming Australian 'summer of cycling' would be 'make or break' and that he would consider retirement if no contract was forthcoming. Fortunately for Earle, he has penned a one-year deal with the Continental team from Japan.
Earle began his career with the Continental outfit Praties in 2008, and in 2014 jumped up to WorldTour level with Team Sky. His tenure with the British team was not long-lived and he left them when his contract was up at the end of 2015. Earle admitted to Cyclingnews ahead of his departure that while it had proved an exciting two years it had not been a good move in terms of progressing his career.
The Australian joined Drapac for the 2016 season, saying that he hoped to get back to winning ways following his dry spell at Team Sky. His season was cut short when the announcement that Drapac would merge with Cannondale and he last raced in July at the Volta a Portugal. Team Ukyo was founded in 2012 and finished 13th among the Continental teams in the UCI Asia Tour. The outfit is made up of a mixture of Japanese and Spanish riders, with Earle the only Australian in the line-up for 2017.
With Brad Evans also finding a new home in 2017 with Drapac-Pat's Veg, Jordan Kerby is the only Drapac rider from 2016 yet to declare his racing plans for the new season. The former U23 national Australian time trial title champion has started a training business.