Speculation has surrounded the Australian since the transfer window opened in August and Clarke and his agent were forced to play down a rumour that he had come to an agreement with BMC. In early August the 29-year-old gave an interview with Cyclingnews in which he outlined why he wanted to move on from Orica, explaining how he was looking for a fresh start and new challenges at a time when the Australian team was shifting its focus. He is satisfied he has found that opportunity at Cannondale-Garmin.
“There is a really balanced feel about the team with a nice blend of super talented emerging riders complementing those with greater experience, and I’m very excited to have an opportunity to play my role in the development and future successes of Cannondale-Garmin," said Clarke on Thursday in a statement from the team.
"I like its vision and feel riding for Cannondale-Garmin will give me fresh opportunities not only for myself, but to help the team achieve its goals.”
Clarke has won stages at all three Grand Tours and and won the overall at the Herald Sun Tour in 2014. This year he enjoyed a spell in the leader's pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia after Orica won the opening-day team time trial, and he also rode to second at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race at the start of the year.
Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling added: “Simon has excellent experience and is a very good road captain. He has the ability to help guide some of our younger riders and is capable of great achievements himself. He will be a fantastic addition to the team.”
Clarke's signature is the latest in what has been an active transfer window from Vaughters' perspective. The team has revamped its general classification line-up, saying goodbye to Dan Martin and Ryder Hesjedal and welcoming Rigoberto Urán, Pierre Rolland, and Lawson Craddock. They have also signed Wouter Wippert (Drapac), Patrick Bevin (Avanti), Ryan Mullen (An Post-Chainreaction), Michael Woods (Optum), and Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo).