Orica-GreenEDGE has announced its closed a deal to sign the in demand youngster Robert Power to the team from 2016.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Power, 19, will join the team officially in 2016, but is expected to ride as a trainee in the latter half of this season. He's signed a three year deal with Orica-GreenEDGE, a healthy contract length that gives Power both security and time to grow in a team that prides itself on its development record.

The West Australian will join Victorian Jack Haig and the recently confirmed South Australian Alexander Edmondson as neo-pros next season.

Two impressive hilltop victories in Italy, at the GP Capodarco and GP Poggiana under 23 races, immediately put the young climber on the radar of a number of big names teams, but Power is confident ORICA-GreenEDGE is the best place to take his career to the next level.

"Above all, I'm really excited to join a team with a great atmosphere and where I'll be training and racing with a great group of guys," Power said in a release from the team.

"I think the team will help me become a better rider and I'm convinced that it will be the best place for me to learn what it takes to be a professional.

"It's already been very overwhelming, in a good way, to be part of the team camps and now riding next to some of the best riders in the world at the Tour Down Under.

"I'm still only 19 years old and I'm very ambitious about this season on the development team. I want to go back to Europe and do better than last year and I think it will help me knowing that I have the next part my future in place."

Alongside his victories, Power also finished second overall at the 2014 Tour de l'Avenir – the birthplace of many of the world's best future climbers – creating history as the first ever Australian to podium at the French race.

Former winners at the Tour de l'Avenir include future Orica team-mate Esteban Chaves, Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana, and three-time Tour de France champion Greg Lemond. Power will return to l'Avenir with the Australian national team hoping to better his 2014 result, before heading to the under 23 world championships in his final outing in the amateur ranks.

Power has been singled out by Australian Tour de France legend Cadel Evans as a rider to watch in the coming decade, who believes the youngster's masterful climbing will put him in good stead in the professional peloton.

Orica-GreenEDGE director Matt White echoed Evans, calling Power a talent Australian hasn't seen in a "very, very long time", but cautioned over-hyping the 19 year old.

"We are seeing quite a few guys coming out of a different type of talent pool than the tracks these years and Rob is one of the best examples of that type of rider. I think he's got huge potential," White said.

"The future is generally looking really bright for Australian cycling and the amount of talent is significant and there are a lot of riders for the WorldTour teams to pick from.

"The important thing for us as a team is to let them grow and develop progressively in a good environment without any added pressure. Most of these guys are still very young and we need to make sure they make the transition to the pro ranks in the best possible way."

Power is currently riding the Santos Tour Down Under with the UniSA-Australia team where he's chasing a strong ride in the overall standings. Last year team-mate Jack Haig finished the best young rider.