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Semple gets Bibanese birthday present

Ashley Baines (left) of Cycle City and Jayco/AIS's Adam Semple in the peloton during the thirty laps of an 850 metre circuit criterium.

Ashley Baines (left) of Cycle City and Jayco/AIS's Adam Semple in the peloton during the thirty laps of an 850 metre circuit criterium. (Image credit: Shane Goss)

West Australia’s Adam Semple will bid farewell to the Australian Institute of Sport program for the bulk of 2010 as he joins an Italian amateur team. Semple, who turns 20 today, will join Brisot Cardin Bibanese, the squad on which compatriot Simon Gerrans made his European debut.

“The Australian team has hooked me up because it was my time to move on from the Australian Institute of Sport. I’ve had a fair stint there now and there’s only so much you can do there,” said Semple. “I was ready to move on, so we came to an agreement and they’re going to still support me next year.”

Semple is expecting to reunite with the Australian Institute of Sport program at various points throughout 2010, including at the Baby Giro d’Italia. The arrangement is similar to that which Ritchie Porte enjoyed this year, riding races like the Tour de Langkawi with the national team, but spending the majority of his season with Andrea Tafi's Bedogni-Grassi-Natalini-Gr.Praga squad. A strong ride by Porte at the Baby Giro helped the Tasmanian secure a professional contract with Saxo Bank for 2010, an accomplishment Semple is hoping to replicate.

The AIS assisted with opening the door to Bibanese for Semple, with the rider then left to choose his own path for next season. “If I’m still going well then I’ll hopefully be doing a few races with them [AIS], like the baby Giro and that sort of thing,” said Semple. “The AIS spoke to the team’s managers and directors to suggest me and then it was sort of up to me as to whether I went with that or different other options I had in Italian teams. Bibanese turned out to be the best option because the Australian squad will still support me, so it’s going to be good.”

Having contested his home tour over the weekend, the Tour de Perth, Semple is now taking four weeks away from competition. A recent medical examination revealed Semple has had the Epstein-Barr virus this season and also revealed he suffers from asthma. The enforced break from competition will allow him to fully recover from the virus before he starts preparations for next season.

Semple will travel to Victoria for January’s Australian Open Road Championships, where he has high hopes of a medal-winning performance in at least the road race. “Depending on what my form is like I might enter the time trial as well,” said Semple. “It just depends as it’s close to the Bay Series.”

Semple will travel to Italy to join his new squad, based near Venice, on February 28. Gerrans rode for Bibanese in 2000 before joining the AIS/Australian National Team program the following year.

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