Mitch Docker has renewed his contract with EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale following his maiden season with the team.
The 31 year-old Australian, who finished both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España this year explained his reasons for staying with the team.
“The first reason to stay? The guys. I have loved racing and hanging out with my teammates. I knew from the first training camp at the start of the season that I was going to have a lot of fun with this team,” said Docker.
“Then there’s my race program. It’s great. I’ve loved all the races I’ve done,” Docker added. “And finally my role within the team has challenged me not only physically but also mentally. As road captain, I make a commitment to get the best out of myself and my teammates in the races.”
Docker’s commitment at the 2018 Vuelta was a key part of the equation that saw teammates Simon Clarke and Mike Woods snag stage wins at the third Grand Tour of the season.
“I was honoured to be named road captain of a truly stellar team at the Vuelta,” said Docker. “It was fantastic to see how the team performed – not only the riders but the staff and management, too. The whole team stepped up, and we had a fantastic vibe. It showed in the results.”
The 32-year-old expects to continue to grow in his role and contribute to his team’s ambitions during the Classics season.
“My Classics campaign was riddled with crashes this year,” noted Docker. “I feel like I never had the chance to show my best. There’s some unfinished business there.”
The relationship with EF Education First motivates Docker, who travelled to the EF Dusseldorf offices early in the season.
“It adds an element of accountability to meet everyone on the ground who stands behind the company and to get a better understanding of who EF is and what they do,” said Docker. “We have a proper working relationship with them. They want to get to know us and make the team as a whole better. It’s very different to any other sponsorship I’ve had.”
“I’m happy that Mitch has re-upped with us,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “On and off the bike he’s the kind of rider who fits in well with this team and the things we try to do. On the road, he’s a steadfast road captain, communicating clearly, keeping guys in the right spots, keeping guys motivated. In the bus he’s a great presence as well — he brings good leadership but also a levity that’s unique. And his podcast and the way he brings fans into the sport is fantastic.”