Trek-Segafredo announced on Monday that they have signed Australia's Will Clarke and Luxembourg's Alex Kirsch for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Clarke joins the team from EF Education First-Drapac, while Kirsch moves up to the WorldTour ranks after spending the last two seasons with WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic.
"Obviously we know Will and Alex already, and we know they are both very powerful riders," said team manager Luca Guercilena. "We are convinced they will be valuable assets for the team. Will will reinforce our team time trial squad, and Alex will be of great help in the Classics. With them, we have a solid base for our Classics team and our group for the stage races."
Clarke was a member of the Leopard-Trek squad in 2011, and will likely know some of the sponsors, staff and riders already. Known for his hard work in breakaways, his top results include winning stages at the Tour Down Under, Tour de Taiwan, Herald Sun Tour, Tour of Japan and Volta a Portugal. He is also strong in the time trial – notably short and technical prologues – which has counted for four of the nine victories on his palmarès, according to a team press release.
"It's a huge opportunity for me to be joining Trek-Segafredo," Clarke said. "It's a big professional team that I have always admired, and I really can’t wait to go back. Leopard-Trek was my first professional team, so I'm looking forward to working again with some familiar faces.
"I'm also really happy to be riding with Richie Porte. We are both from northern Tasmania, and we last rode together in 2008 on the Praties Team where he won the Tour of Tasmania. I hope to assist him and the rest of the team in winning some big WorldTour races now. I am really motivated to get the best out of myself for the team."
Kirsch has spent time with the team four years ago as a trainee for Trek-Segafredo, and the team now believes that he has made significant progress to step up to the WorldTour.
"I'm looking forward to joining Trek-Segafredo and making my debut in the WorldTour," he said. "The team has high ambitions for the Classics, which I'm excited about. Having now ridden for a Belgian team, I know the roads and the culture very well, and I hope my experience and qualities will add value to the team.
"It will be my goal, of course, to help John Degenkolb, Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen go for wins in those races. I'm also sure that with this team, with its structure, will help keep me progressing and to reach another level. I can say that I'm super-excited!"