News feature, October 30, 2006.
At the beginning of 2006 Australia's Drapac-Porsche Development Team announced it would form a Continental team to contest the UCI Oceania and Asia Continental circuits. Continuing the flow of its development, the outfit is working hard in the hope of becoming Australia's first Professional Continental team in 2007. Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson pulled DPDT's co-Team Director, Adam Murchie, aside to discuss the team's hopes and aspirations for 2007.
Drapac-Porsche is serious about athlete development. Like any other sporting team, its riders must be devoted to the team's philosophy - no exceptions. But this Melbourne, Australia, based outfit is one with a philosophy like few others in international sport. While most teams are committed to churning out focused and driven sporting machines, who are quickly shown the door if their interests wander outside the realms of competition, Drapac-Porsche nurtures its riders to produce the best results in life - both on and off the asphalt.
That's not to say its riders aren't focused or driven. On the contrary, some could suggest its attitude to development outside, as well as within, the sporting arena is the driving force behind its success. "The ultimate goal for us is to have the guys and girls to become full-time athletes, but not at the cost of everything else in their life," explained Murchie. "We don't want mono-dimensional riders. If there are mono-dimensional riders out there that are interested, they need not apply. Even if Lance Armstrong himself came along, we would turn him away. I'm serious!"
And that's the ethos Drapac-Porsche hopes to carry onto the international scene - should its plans come to fruition. While still in very early stages, the team has applied for both Track Continental and Pro Continental licences for 2007. "We are looking at going as a Pro Continental team," Murchie reluctantly revealed. "So we'd be the first ever Aussie team [to become a Pro Continental team] on that basis. There's a lot of work to be done there, but we're looking at beefing up operations and doing a short block overseas - around six-to-eight weeks in Europe."
While the team is some time away from confirming whether its Pro-Conti aspirations for 2007 will go ahead, it will definitely be heading abroad next year for its riders to experience some one-day racing in Europe. "We're going to do a block in Europe regardless," explained Murchie. "As far as the events we'll contest, we've actually gone to the riders and said 'what do you want us to get you into?'."
Murchie wouldn't reveal how far along plans are of joining the Pro-Continental ranks, which would allow the outfit access to higher quality events, stating: "That's what we're looking at doing and we're looking at it seriously. It's progressing along."
All of Drapac-Porsche Development Team's riders work full-time or are completing secondary or tertiary studies, and the outfit is set to expand its ranks for 2007. "We are looking at some other riders, there's no doubt about that," Murchie added. "We're looking to grow the program, but for the right reasons. We want to show our guys that we're committed to the next step and that we'll grow with them."
The good news is that, no matter what the extent of its overseas program, joint title sponsor Porsche is supporting the outfit's expansion plans. "Porsche will be onboard across the whole program," confirmed Murchie. "They will be supporting us locally, as well as our overseas foray."
In line with the team's positive attitude to broader human development, the outfit hopes to expose its riders to the corporate world in the future - preparing its upcoming stars for all aspects of professional sport. "Two weeks ago we had a fundraiser for our team and we had about 300 people there, including businessmen and pre-eminent sports people - we'd like to do more of that," added Murchie. "There's always been big business and cycling, but the two have never really been together."
With the DPDT on the case, that's sure to change.