Dion Smith is the latest Kiwi to make the step into the World Tour. The Tour de France polka dot jersey wearer earlier this year has signed a two-year contract with Mitchelton-Scott, currently the home of fellow Kiwis Georgia Williams, Jack Bauer & Sam Bewley.
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Mitchelton-Scott were looking for versatility, a rider who could make his home in just about any cycling scenario. Enter the Smith. Head sport director Matt White said, “We were looking for a versatile guy and Dion is a pretty versatile character. He can do a bit of everything, he can handle himself in the flemish classics, he’s fast but not a pure sprinter, he can climb good, he is a real racer.”
Back-to-back seasons with Wanty-Groupe Gobert, which built on his first year at ProContinental level with ONE Pro Cycling, Dion Smith was afforded opportunities at the very highest level of the sport, riding two consecutive Tours de France. It was his 2018 race that provided his biggest breakthrough in many ways, as he pulled on the polka dot jersey as leader of the king of the mountains classification at the end of stage 2. Smith wore it to the end of stage 5, where it passed to the shoulders of former teammate Toms Skujins.
“Reaching the top level in professional cycling is a massive goal of mine and now I am 25 and about to sign for a World Tour team, but not only that, with the team that I’ve aspired to be a part of for years being a rider from the Southern Hemisphere. Mitchelton-Scott has always been an exciting dream,” Smith said.
Uniting with compatriots Williams, Bauer and Bewley will not be the only Southern Hemisphere companions Smith will be looking forward to teaming up with. “I’m stoked to be on a team with lots of guys I look up to and that I am mates with too,” Smith said. “Daryl Impey is a rider I am looking forward to learning from as he has so many years on me and has progressed into a world class rider. I think Mitchelton-Scott has helped him become the rider he is now and I see myself becoming a similar rider to Daryl.”