London Olympics cyclists Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate will join the highly rated An Post-Sean Kelly professional team in Europe next year.
BikeNZ has been working to establish relationships with several key teams in Europe to further develop opportunities for its wider Olympic endurance track squad.
The signing by An Post-Sean Kelly, a UCI Continental team based in Belgium, is the first of these developments. The team, managed by Kurt Boegarts and Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly, is currently ranked 13th on the UCI Europe Tour rankings (from 124 teams).
Gate, of Auckland, won a bronze medal as part of the team pursuit in London, while Archbold, of Timaru, finished seventh in the omnium, in which he won a silver medal at the 2011 world championships.
"It's a great opportunity for Shane and Aaron to join a team with such a strong programme," said Mark Elliott, BikeNZ High Performance Director. "One of the aims of the BikeNZ track programme is to assist with the development of the careers of our endurance track riders. This opportunity with An Post-Sean Kelly will assist in this regard.
"I think it also demonstrates that riding successfully on the track and having opportunities on the road are not mutually exclusive," Elliott said. "Establishing and nurturing key relationships in Europe with teams like An Post-Sean Kelly is an integral part of this process.
"Shane and Aaron will both acquit themselves well with the team and are excellent examples of the [high] calibre riders coming through our endurance programme, and at the same time they will remain available for our track programme going forward."
- The Southland Times