As well as extending the contract of former New Zealand road race and time trial champion Georgia Williams on their women’s team, Mitchelton-Scott have extended the contracts of Kiwi riders Jack Bauer, Sam Bewley and Dion Smith on the men’s WorldTour squad.
Bauer, Bewley and Smith have all been handed two-year contract extensions, with 35-year-old Bauer now heading into what will be his fourth year with Mitchelton-Scott in 2021.
“I know my roles and goals early in the season, and have great support staff in the team around me,” Bauer said in a press release on Wednesday. “This makes it a great team to a part of, and is why I’ve enjoyed the past three years with the squad so much. I also really appreciate the riders and staff in the team, and get along well with them, making re-signing with the squad an easy decision.”
Bewley, meanwhile, has been with the team since its inception in 2012, and only Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn and Daryl Impey have been at the team as long, although Impey will move on to Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021.
“On this team, you can be yourself,” 33-year-old Bewley said. “You can be open and honest, which are the pillars of a successful culture. I have always loved being part of that, and am very excited to remain a part of it.
“This team has had some great success, but we’ll continue to push the goalposts out as we tick those things off,” continued Bewley, who broke his wrist in a crash on stage 10 of this year’s postponed Tour de France, which ended his season.
“I want to continue to improve, adapt and learn these next two seasons. I have a passion for helping the younger guys, and I hope to be able to help teach them things while I still continue to learn myself. And, of course, I want to be part of winning the world’s biggest bike races.”
Twenty-seven-year-old Dion Smith took his first professional victory at the Coppa Sabatini in Italy in mid-September, which came just over a month after he finished sixth at the postponed Milan-San Remo and ninth at Milano-Torino.
Smith joined the squad in 2019, and said that the last two years of his career since stepping up to WorldTour level from Belgian ProTeam Wanty-Gobert had been particularly enjoyable.
“I feel like I’ve grown and improved as a rider, which has a lot to do with being on this team, and I want to continue in that direction,” he said.
“It was an awesome feeling getting my first win this season. I’ve always come so close, but now that it’s under the belt, it gives me confidence going forward to aim even higher.
“I’d like to continue to grow within this team and continue the dream to win races, whether for me or teammates,” said Smith. “It’s such a family environment, and I’m just glad everything has shaped up for the better after this year.”
Head sports director Matt White said of Smith and the other contract extensions: “We had seen consistency in Dion before he joined the team – that’s why we wanted him – and I think we saw some great results this year, in a very reduced calendar, with Milan-San Remo and his first win in Europe.
“Not everyone develops at the same speed, but he is developing, and the main thing is that he is getting better and better, and we expect that to increase over the next couple of years, so they’re exciting times to see how far that development can go,” he said.
“‘Bewls’ has just had so much bad luck, so the last year-and-a-half we haven’t been able to see Sam at his highest level because he has had so many setbacks with injuries,” White added of Sam Bewley.
“But on the positive side, he’s a great leader off the bike, a great captain on the road and he is a guy that our younger guys lean on, and a great go-between for management and our riding group.”
Of Jack Bauer’s extension, White said: “Jack is really reliable, very loyal and has been a great addition to the team in the past three years. He is a great character and a guy you want in the team; you want some older statesmen in your team who lead by example, and Jack is one of those guys.”
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