Veteran Australian rider Rory Sutherland has signed with the Israel Cycling Academy team for 2020, where he will join current UAE Team Emirates teammate Dan Martin as part of the new WorldTour-level squad.
The Israel Cycling Academy team has been operating as a Professional Continental outfit since 2017, but its recent acquisition of current team Katusha-Alpecin's WorldTour licence for 2020 means that it will merge the two teams' rosters of riders that have contracts for next season to became what may be called Israel Cycling Academy-Katusha.
Israel Cycling Academy had already announced the signing of Irishman Martin to the team before the completion of the merger, and, with the announcement of 37-year-old Sutherland's signing, the two teammates will be reunited at the Israeli squad for 2020.
"I was in the process of deciding what I wanted to do in my cycling career," said Sutherland in a press release. "I wanted to find a team situation that was the right fit and I was unsure if that was even possible.
"When Kjell [Carlstrom, team manager] spoke with me about the ICA project, it really kept the fire burning and I knew it was the team for me. I love riding my bike. I honestly get a huge satisfaction in assisting with the development of riders and helping to create a positive team environment where everyone works well together," he said.
Martin's decision to sign for ICA was apparently the icing on the cake, and helped persuade Sutherland to put pen to paper.
"I see something special in the ICA project," Sutherland continued. "There exists a desire for excellence among the group of riders, staff and owners. Everyone involved in the project is motivated and excited to perform. My job will not be limited to racing and I will have the opportunity to help the team excel in every way.”
Carlstrom added that Sutherland was exactly the type of rider the team was looking for as it takes the step up to WorldTour level in 2020.
"We were looking for a rider that can be a road captain in certain races, and in others – especially the biggest ones – assist our GC guys in the most critical moments, be it in the mountains or on the flat with positioning and keeping them out of trouble," said Carlstrom.
"Beyond that, we needed someone with vast experience and leadership skills that can help and give the advice to the young guys in the team. For me, there was one rider that could offer us the full package and it was Rory Sutherland."