Team Illuminate has added another Australian to its 2016 roster with the signing of track specialist and road sprinter Scott Sunderland.
The 27-year-old, who won gold at the 2012 UCI World Chamionships as part of Australia's team sprint squad, first represented Australia at the 2008 track World Cup in Los Angeles, winning the 1km time trial. In 2014 Sunderland moved from the Australian track program's sprint squad to its endurance progam, eventually signing with Team Budget Forklifts last season as part of his preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Sunderland won the overall title at the Tour of America's Dairyland in 2015 and followed it up with a sprint win in the 278km Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic that took more than 7 hours and 27 minutes to complete. Sunderland also took four stage wins at the Tour of the Great South Coast and was second in two stages.
"Scott is a World Champion and an Olympian on the track," said Team Illuminate General Manager Chris Johnson. "He has successfully made a transition to the road and his results show that he has the ability to compete with the best in the world. We're very fortunate to have him as part of the team."
Sunderland said his experiences racing in the US have so far been exciting, and he's looking forward to the season ahead with the American team.
"Last year I got to race in the US with an Australian team and I found that the fans and people there were awesome," he said. "Riding with Team Illuminate is a great opportunity for me to race my bike overseas, and I'm looking forward to being part of a team with five different nationalities represented."
Illuminate director Bart Bowen is hoping Sunderland will add considerable power to the US Continental team’s sprint efforts.
"The combination of Sunderland and Edwin Avila from Colombia is going to be deadly in the sprints, but clearly those are not the only cards to play; we have an incredibly deep roster."
Sunderland is the third Australian rider signed for 2016 by the US Continental team, which raced as Airgas-Safeway last year. The team previously announced it signed brothers Miles and Callum Scotson. Sunderland and the Scotsons will be competing in the Cycling Australia Road National Championships January 6-10. Sunderland is on the start list for today's Elite men's criterium championship, an event in which he was third last year. Callum Scotson and Miles Scotson, who is the defending champion in the U23 road race and time trial, will be competing in this week's U23 events.
Team Illuminate 2016 roster announcements so far: Edwin Avila (COL), Flavio De Luna (MEX), Griffin Easter (USA), Alexander Ray (NZL), Connor McCutcheon (USA), Matt Rodrigues (USA), Jason Saltzman (USA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Callum Scotson (AUS), Tim Aiken (USA), Scott Sunderland (AUS)
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