“I’m looking for a job, I’m riding as hard as I can, I’m not finishing my season until I’ve got a job so it’s not the best thing for US cycling but all I can do is try and win races to get myself a job.” said Clarke after winning the race in Las Vegas.
On May 2, 2008, team owner Sean Tucker announced that Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. had decided not to renew its title sponsorship of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team following the conclusion of the 2008 season. Since then, negocations have been in progress to find a new sponsor but no deal has been signed as of yet.
“It’s really disheartening that this brilliant team is going and I really feel for all my teammates because there’s not one guy on my team that’s got a job, so we are all looking for a job.” continued Clarke.
After three years with the now defunct Navigators Insurance Team, Clarke along with his younger brother Jonny joined the Toyota-United team at the beginning of 2008. The duo was joining a team full of fast men including Ivan Dominguez and Australian leadout expert Henk Vogels.
After a somewhat slow start to his season, the Australian hit his stride by May, where he started to win criteriums, starting with two races during USA Crits Speedweek and finishing up with the USA Crits Finals in Las Vegas, and by the end of that stretch, the 29 year old had added 11 wins to his palmares.
“It’s my seventh year racing in America, and this is the first time that I haven’t been the only sprinter on the team, it’s a great bonus. Tour of Georgia I didn’t get to do anything because [Ivan] Dominguez was flying but that’s was good because I didn’t have that good a form. Now I have good form, the team is riding for me, it’s just a matter of rotation, it’s great as far as I’m concerned.” said Clarke about riding in a team chockfull of sprinting talent just after winning the Mt Hood crit.
The slow start to his season was due to an injury sustained in the previous year. In 2006, Clarke came to everyone’s attention when he won the US PRO Championships in Downers Grove and expectations were high for the future. But the following year, the man who had started cycling at the age of 9, was faced with a major injury as a rotated pelvis sidelined him for the most of July and into August. And looking back now, it took half a year or longer for him to recover and involved adjusting his position on the bike.
“In 2007, I had a really brilliant start to the year and for the first time in my career I had a really bad injury, it was a bit of a mystery, I had a few problems with my pelvis, and it really set me back and I didn’t know what to do about it, it was the first time in my career that I got injured and really the first half of this year, it was still a process of getting myself back, and I’m back, I’m really back now.” said Clarke.
And he is continuing to race. Clarke along with six teammates will be racing at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia starting on October 12, the final stage race – ever - for the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team.
“I’m going to keep racing, if I have a black jersey on I’ll keep on racing around until I get myself a team. I’m going to do the Sun Tour, keep racing until I get a job.”
Note that his teammate Dominique Rollin is joining the new Cervelo team.