Caleb Ewan signs for Australian team Orica-GreenEdge on pre-contract agreement
Last Updated: 21/10/13 11:13am
Caleb Ewan was one of the most highly sought-after amateur riders
Orica-GreenEdge have secured the highly coveted signature of 19-year-old sprinter Caleb Ewan.
The Australian is widely regarded to be sprinting's next big star after a string of impressive results in the junior and under-23 ranks, including eight victories this season.
He has signed a pre-contract agreement with Orica-GreenEdge, meaning he will remain with his current Jayco-AIS team until August next year and then join GreenEdge as an amateur trainee, known as a "stagiaire".
He will subsequently turn professional in October 2014, after the road world championships, and will be under contract with Australian team GreenEdge until the end of 2016.
Ewan, who finished fourth in the under-23 world road race championship in Florence last month, revealed he had been keen to remain an amateur for one more season.
He said: "I decided I wanted to stay in the under-23 team for part of next year and ease into the transition a bit more.
'I will be ready'
"If I went pro next year, it could be too early in terms of development. GreenEdge has given me a clear path that outlines several smaller steps rather than one big one. When I do turn pro, I will be ready."
Although Ewan's forte is bunch sprints, he can also survive short, steep climbs - a skill that was evident when he conquered the challenging Fiesole and Via Salviati ascents on the world championship course.
Orica-GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan said: "We identified Caleb as an extremely talented rider, as evidenced by his results.
"We are excited to be part of his development and growth. His success to date indicates that he is one of the classiest riders in the next generation of cyclists."
Ewan, who follows British twins Adam and Simon Yates in signing for Orica-GreenEdge, hopes to make his professional debut at next October's Tour of Beijing.
His pre-contract agreement starts on January 1, 2014.