ORICA-BikeExchange will benefit from an immediate injection of climbing pedigree, signing Spanish rider Carlos Verona for the remainder of the year and the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Verona joins the Australian outfit from Etixx – Quick-Step and an agreement between the teams will see the 23-year-old line up in his first race for ORICA-BikeExchange at the Vuelta a Burgos this Tuesday.
“I am really happy to join ORICA-BikeExchange and start a new chapter of my cycling career here,” Verona said. “The team will help me to keep improving and become a better bike rider as I have seen them do with so many other guys.”
“I live close to a few of my new teammates, and from what I see and hear, I’m sure it will be easy to become part of such a good group.”
Despite his young age, the Spaniard already has almost six years as a professional, four seasons at WorldTour level and three Grand Tours worth of experience behind him and is expected to play a strong role in the team’s general classification ambitions moving forward.
“I really like the direction that the team has taken towards focusing on the GC in the big races and the approach they have taken has been extremely impressive to watch,” he continued.
“I consider myself a team player and I look forward to contributing and playing a role wherever the team can use me.
“I’m still quite young, but I’m already on my fourth year at WorldTour level and look forward to getting into this new environment to see how far we’re able to take everything.”
Sports director Matt White reiterated Verona’s value in the three-week tours and expects him to fit immediately into the ORICA-BikeExchange environment.
“Carlos will be a really important addition to the team going onwards as we approach our next seasons with a big focus on the Grand Tours,” White said. “He has great climbing skills and despite his young age, he already has an impressive amount of experience in these type of races.”
“He has a really good personality and already trains with some of our guys in Andorra, so I’m convinced he’ll fit into our environment very easily.”
Verona will line up in his third Vuelta a Burgos next week, with the remainder of his 2016 program to be determined in coming weeks.
“We’re very fortunate to be able to bring him over already this year which is a great help for our planning and our ability to target the rest of the season,” White said.
“He’s starting out now in Burgos and we’ll assess his race schedule shortly. A rider with his qualities can ride any of the races we have left this year.”
From: Madrid, Spain
Turned Professional: 2011
– 4th 2016 Tour de Romandie – Youth Classification
– 2nd 2014 Tour Down Under – Youth Classification
– 1st 2012 Vuelta Ciclisa a León – Mountain Classification