• Damien drives the peloton at the 2016 Vuelta a España. (Getty)Source: Getty
Australian Damien Howson has re-signed with Orica-BikeExchange after a Vuelta a España performance which cemented him as one of the WorldTour's most valuable domestiques.
Cycling Central

14 Sep 2016 - 9:37 AM  UPDATED 14 Sep 2016 - 9:39 AM

Howson, 24, has been the season-long wingman for general classification star Esteban Chaves, with his assists helping to deliver podium finishes at the Giro d'Italia (2nd) and Vuelta (3rd) for the Colombian.

“After the Vuelta last year I have really focused on becoming an asset in the mountains, trying to help our leaders achieve their goals,” Howson said.

“I feel like I’ve taken a large step forward in my development and I really want to continue that path with the team.”

“I want to use the experience I already have as a stepping stone to be even better at helping out in the finals of the Grand Tours and I really appreciate the support the team has given me to be where I am now as a rider.”

Orica-BikeExchange Grand Tour pivot almost complete
Winners were grinners at the close of the Vuelta a España and none bigger than Orica-BikeExchange who delivered a podium placing, four stage wins and two overall top-tens over three weeks of racing.

The former world under 23 time trial champion will continue through to the end of 2018 in the same role, but with new signings Roman Krueziger and Carlos Verona also assisting.

“He has become a very valuable and consistent rider in mountain stages and has developed into a super domestique who can also achieve results on his own," Orica-BikeExchange sports director Matt White said.

“It’s very rare that you see riders climbing as well as him who can also produce world class time trials. He will definitely be a big part of our Grand Tour plans for the coming years.”