Commonwealth Games cycling star Shane Archbold will take a break from the track after taking up a full-time offer with a high profile European professional road team.
The Timaru rider, who won a gold medal in the scratch race at Glasgow, will compete for the German-based Pro Continental team NetApp-Endura, after two years with Belgium-based An Post Chain Reaction continental team.
The team, established in 2010, competed in the Tour de France this year with the aim of full World Tour status by 2017.
Archbold was arguably the star of the record-setting cycling team at Glasgow, not only with his own gold medal, but producing superb support roles that led directly to Tom Scully's gold medal in the points race and the silver for Jack Bauer in the road race. He also earned a bronze medal in the team pursuit.
While the 25-year-old remains determined to return to the track for the Rio Olympics, he saw the opportunity for a fulltime professional contract too good to turn down.
Archbold says the massive opportunity was a double-edged sword, given his outstanding form in Glasgow, at the start of BikeNZ's track campaign towards Rio.
He says obviously it was difficult to turn his back on BikeNZ in the short term after all the guidance and support they have given him since the beginning of my career and I thank them for all they have done... buy this is a once-in-the-lifetime opportunity.
Archbold says he's determined to make the team for the Rio Olympics but he's just simply taking a year away from the boards to further himself as a bike rider.
BikeNZ track head coach Dayle Cheatley says he understands the lure that this contract represented to Archbold.
NetApp-Endura's key rider this year is Czech champion Jan Barta, who won four races this year.