• Richie Porte, Chloe Hosking (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
A few Aussies are on the move in 2021, Cycling Central takes a look at the top Aussies moving to new pastures.
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

30 Dec 2020 - 10:12 AM 

Chloe Hosking (Rally Cycling to Trek-Segafredo)

Hosking's switch to Trek-Segafredo will make it seven teams at the top level for the Australian sprinter. Hosking's three wins for 2020 added to the 36 on her career and she's still one of the fastest riders around.

Trek-Segafredo is arguably the best team in the world at present and Hosking's presence will see her with a good opportunity to add to her impressive palmares. She'll likely have to share sprinting duties with Italian sensation Letizia Paternoster, but the Australian star has more experience and a better road record at present. Also, the 21-year-old Italian has track commitments with the Olympics looming and a nasty run of injuries that has held her back.

Hosking should still get plenty of opportunities on flat courses, but on days where the road tilts upwards, they are a lot of options for the American squad like Lizzie Deignan, Elisa Longo Borghini and Ruth Winder. Trek-Segafredo are going to be one of the teams looking to break things up, rather than keep them together for a bunch sprint.

Hosking will join fellow Aussie Lauretta Hanson on the squad.

 

Michael Matthews (Sunweb to GreenEDGE)

From shredding his hand while trying to follow an attack at Milan San Remo to missing Tour de France selection with Team Sunweb, it's fair to say that Matthews' 2020 wasn't what he was looking for at the start of the season. He did bounce back with a very nice win at the Bretagne Classic, but a subsequent run of near-misses at the Giro d'Italia before a COVID positive forced him out of the race meant the season ended on a sour note.

The homecoming to GreenEDGE came after securing a release from his contract at Sunweb, clearly he really wanted to secure the move away, the move home, or both. Regardless, the Australian squad should be a good home for Matthews, who will go in as the unquestioned leader in a number of key goals for the season.

What will be interesting is where those goals are for 2021. The cobbled classics have been a goal that Matthews has eyed in the past, those could be on the cards for next year, maybe in concert with an attempt on Milan San Remo. Then there's the question of the Grand Tours. 

Is Matthews the leader for the Tour de France, targetting the green jersey? Will he be part of a mixed team, with Simon Yates, Lucas Hamilton or Esteban Chaves leading a GC bid with Matthews hunting for stages? 

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Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo to INEOS Grenadiers)

The podium in Paris will be the high point of Porte's career, that much has been made clear since the event in a number of interviews with the Australian climbing star. His return to INEOS will not be without his own ambitions, he's said that shorter Tours like the Tour de Romandie could well be on the menu next year and if he's in anything like the form of 2020, those are relatively modest goals. 

Porte goes into a team chock-full of general classification talent. There are two Tour de France winners (Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas) and two Giro d'Italia winners (Tao Geoghegan Hart, Richard Carapaz), throw in Adam Yates and young talents like Pavel Sivakov and you can see why Porte is in sup-Porte mode.

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Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott to Bahrain Victorious)

Committing through to the end of 2023 on a substantial deal with Bahrain Victorious is Jack Haig. The Australian general classification hope has long been touted as the next big thing of Australian cycling and is beginning to deliver on those claims. 

His performances at early season racing in Spain were superb, he looked one of the strongest climbers in the Ruta del Sol and the Volta Valenciana. His post-COVID break return was less lauded, but he looked to be very strong riding in support of Simon Yates at Tirreno-Adriatico, before being ejected from the race with the Mitchelton-Scott team due to the COVID protocols. 

Bahrain Victorious already have Mikel Landa on the roster, he's said he'll target the Tour de France plus one other Grand Tour, but Haig should have plenty of leadership chances outside the Spaniard's ambitions. The confidence from the team in signing Haig through to the end of 2023 shows that they expect big things from the Australian and we should see plenty of Haig in 2021.

Ben O'Connor (NTT to AG2R Citroen)

O'Connor was one of the riders caught up in the uncertainty of NTT and their plans for 2021. The team eventually found a sponsor to help them continue, but the riders didn't know that when contract decisions were being made and had to fight for the remaining spots on other squads. 

The West Australian was one who demanded a new deal, thrusting himself into the spotlight with a series of top-tier rides from the breakaway on mountainous days at the Giro d'Italia, finishing second on Stage 16, before backing up to win in style on Stage 17. He then was the last man caught on Stage 18, the day where the race went to hell on the Stelvio.

O'Connor's best moments have come at the Giro and it will be interesting to see where his new AG2R-Citroen team aims him for 2021. The team has a squad packed full of very good climbers who haven't got much of general classification pedigree, names like Nans Peters, Bob Jungels, Clement Champoussin, Benoit Cosnefroy, and Lilian Calmejane. O'Connor only has a one-year deal, and will have to figure out a way to make the most of his opportunities next year.

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