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Luke Plapp leaves Ineos Grenadiers for Australian team Jayco AlUla, where he will be a new strong GC rider alongside Eddie Dunbar and Simon Yates (Photo: Fabio Ferrari)

Two-time Australian national road race champion, Luke Plapp, is leaving Ineos Grenadiers to join World Tour rivals Team Jayco AlUla on a long-term contract.

The 22-year-old, a top TT rider who has also shown some ability on the climbs and in stage races, had a year left to run on his contract with Ineos Grenadiers. However, he has broken that term to leave, continuing the trend of exits from the British team of late.

Plapp is joining Team Jayco AlUla as a general classification rider alongside Simon Yates and Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar, who finished 7th in the Giro d’Italia this year in what was just the second Grand Tour start of his career. Jayco AlUla has also made it clear Plapp will be a GC rider, with team support in races.

He has signed a four-year contract and said he is delighted to be joining an Australian team to continue his development. He has been national road race champion for the last two years and was senior TT champion in 2021.

He placed 2nd overall at UAE Tour this year and that climbing performance appears to have impressed management at Team Jayco AlUla.

“There’s no mistaking that Luke has incredible talent, so for us to be welcoming him to our team with a four-year contract is very exciting for everybody involved,” said Jayco AlUla general manager Brent Copeland.

“We have to thank (team owner) Gerry Ryan for his commitment to making this signing a reality, as well as our partners AlUla and Giant for their support. Luke is still a very young rider; we are motivated to work with him and have him grow with us as a team into the future.

“With our strengthened climbing group for the coming season, Luke will have a good support team around him, and we are looking forward to seeing him challenge for general classification success and continue to aim for top results in time trials.

“As an Australian team, we are already very much looking forward to the national championships in January and seeing if he can defend his road race title for a third year running.”

For his part, Melbourne man Plapp said “it honestly does feel like I’m coming home”.

“I’m such a proud Australian and to now be able to ride for the Australian team, it’s a real honour. I just can’t wait to get started; the next four years are going to be amazing on this team,” he said.

“I can’t thank Gerry Ryan and the team enough for this opportunity. Gerry has done so much for Australian cycling and to now be on his team and to be able to ride for him, it makes me really proud and super grateful.

“I can’t wait to achieve great things together. It is such a great group of guys and I know so many of them already so I’m really looking forward to kicking things off well in my first race with the team.”

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