Orica-GreenEdge announced that New Zealand's Sam Bewley has joined the Australian ProTeam. With the retirement of Robbie McEwen, a space on the roster became available for the 24-year-old New Zealander who had been without a professional contract this season after spending the previous two years on the RadioShack team.
While Bewley begins his tenure at Orica-GreenEdge immediately with a start in Bayern Rundfahrt, he won't be completely focused on the road until the conclusion of the 2012 London Olympics where he will represent New Zealand in the team pursuit.
"We weren't able to sign Sam until Robbie retired because we were maxed out on numbers," said Matt White, Orica-GreenEdge directeur sportif. "This ended up working out well for both Sam and the team because of Sam's track schedule. He has a lot of potential on the road when he's able to fully concentrate on road racing, and we're looking forward to helping him develop his complete potential. We've signed him for this and the next season, and while we won't see him much this year, he'll be with us full-time on the road in 2013."
"I'm excited to be part of an Australian team," said Bewley. "I'm not Australian of course, but New Zealand and Australia are pretty united when it comes to sport unless we're competing against one another. Even then, it's a friendly rivalry. I'm really happy to be part of a team from the Southern Hemisphere that's racing in Europe."
Bewley considers a bronze medal in the team pursuit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics his career highlight.
"Most of my highlights are on the track as that's where I have put my energy," Bewley said. "The Olympic medal in Beijing stands out the most. I haven't gotten a real highlight on the road yet, but I'm happy to join a team where I think that's a real possibility."
Without much road racing in his legs, Bewley expects Bayern Rundfahrt, a five-day stage race in Germany which begins May 23, to be a personal challenge.
"It's going to be a shock to the system racing at this level," he said. "I'm here to get some racing in my legs and make a good impression to my new teammates and staff. I'll work as hard as I can for the team. We have some strong riders here on the hunt for stage wins. I'll support their goals wherever I can."
Bewley will rejoin the BikeNZ track team when they go into their final track preparation camp later next month.
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