Simon Clarke Extends Contract With ORICA-GreenEDGEWed 28 Nov 2012
ORICA-GreenEDGE is thrilled to announce that Simon Clarke has extended his contract with the team. On top of his original two-year deal, the 2012 Vuelta a España mountain classification winner has extended his contract by two years, through 2015.
“Being Aussie in an Aussie team is a dream come true,” said Clarke. “I think I made a big step up this year, and in part, that’s because of the support I’ve received from this team. To have the chance to stay here for at least another three years is perfect for me.”
Clarke won the fourth stage of the Vuelta and a hard-fought battle for the climber’s jersey. In addition to his Grand Tour success, Clarke finished on the podium in the Rogaland GP, the second stage of Vuelta a Burgos, two stages of the Tour of Norway and finished second in the Tour of Norway general classification.
“Obviously, my results at the Vuelta stand out as a personal highlight,” said Clarke. “It was my first Grand Tour and riding well there was a huge goal for me. I dreamt of winning a stage, and I did that after four days. I managed to continue to race well to come home with the jersey, too. It was a lot more than I expected.”
Having struggled to find his footing amongst international teams, Clarke is especially grateful for the opportunities provided by the Australian outfit.
“When I turned pro, I had some trouble with teams folding or being unreliable,” recalled Clarke. “One night, I was speaking to Shayne [Bannan] about my struggles over dinner. He said ‘Stick it out one more year. After that, we’ll be able to look after you and you’ll have a great career.’ Having Shayne give me those words of confidence reminded me of the support I have behind me.”
“Before GreenEDGE, when we aged out of the national program, we’d leave Shayne’s guidance behind because Australia lacked a professional team for us to feed into,” Clarke continued. “Now, we’ve basically come into a professional version of what Shayne has provided for so many of us all along. It’s really special to look back at what he said to me when I was struggling and then consider what I’ve achieved this year in this team he has created. I’m happy to stay here as long as I can.”
While Clarke directs most of his praise towards the management, he credits his teammates and the staff for creating a team culture that promotes an environment where riders can succeed.
“The thing about Aussies is that we’re all really good at having fun,” said Clarke. “We work hard and we enjoy ourselves at the same time. The international guys have adopted that mentality. Most first year teams need a year to iron things out. We’ve hit the ground running. It’s been such a fun year.”
“Simon has had a real breakthrough with us this year, and we’re thrilled to prolong his contract,” said General Manager Shayne Bannan. “He’s gone from being a big talent on the cusp to taking a jersey in one of the Grand Tours, and we know he’s only shown some of his potential. He’s been a great asset to the team, and we look forward to supporting his development even further in coming years.”