News feature, December 2, 2005
For local Sydney riders, the deep blue, yellow and red of the FRF Couriers-Caravello team is a familiar sight on training rides and at races alike. Sponsored by FRF Couriers and run by Dominic Caravello, the team participates in domestic races and has managed to achieve strong results over the past few seasons. But it's usually seen as a development squad, a team that has blooded some excellent talent and somewhere for local elite riders to enjoy the benefits of a more professional team structure.
But next year it's time to step it up a notch. Frank and Rocky Fortuna, along with Caravello helped launch Australia's newest Continental team in Sydney on Wednesday night, with the birth of FRF Couriers-Caravello as a team to race both domestically and internationally. Welcomed by SBS TV's Mike Tomalaris, guests at the launch saw all-new team clothing, team bikes and a squad boasting names such as Troy Glennan and Tony Mann, two riders who've experienced the level of competition FRF Couriers-Caravello will be up against in 2006. Both riders will leave the now-downsized MGXPower-Bigpond team they've ridden for since 2004.
Gone is the blue and yellow, replaced instead by red, black and white that matches the red and black of the team's new Argon 18 bikes, a sponsorship company founder and owner Martin Rioux is excited about, saying, "It's about the passion. When we started Argon 18 we cycled and loved the sport, and as a business we want to display our product and have it tested." Rioux has raced with his brother in his native Canada, and is looking forward to making a contribution to the sport. "When my brother and I were racing we had support from some companies - what we received we want to give back." It's likely the team will race in Canada for the Tour de Beauce Bell, and Rioux is confident their sponsorship can translate into commercial success, saying, "It would provide visibility and credibility, which are good things to sell the product."
FRF Couriers are the 'driving force' of the team, along with Dominic Caravello; the courier and business provides a large amount of financial backing for the squad. All three men, like Rioux, are passionate about the sport, and it's this passion that makes everything happen. It's not just about the money either, says Fortuna. "The organisation of the team has been hard work - the paperwork, organising the cyclists' accommodation and travel...it's a time consuming job. It's not just the money, it's the time that goes into it."
Caravello is expecting a lot of hard work, but knows that his 16 years running a team will prove invaluable for a squad which is sailing into unchartered waters. "It's a different level of competition overseas," says Caravello, before adding, "But in Australia I think we'll get some good results." He's realistic about what it's going to take, but also believes the talent is there to make it happen. "I had a lot of riders that applied for this team, and unfortunately not all of them can make it. I think we've selected well - we've got younger boys and older riders to match them, and I'm very happy with this."
The squad is a blend of youth and experience, with riders such as 20-year-old Brendan Brooks matched up with 'old hands' such as Tony Mann. Mann's leadership role within the team is something he's looking forward to, saying, "It's going to be great; all the guys in the team have got an engine so it makes it easier - everyone's good at a certain thing." He's enthusiastic about the support of FRF Couriers and Caravello, and believes their passion for the sport will shine through. "It's going to work out well with Dominic and Frank putting a lot of money into it. They love the sport and we love it as well - as long as you have a good time it's going to work out really well."
This is something Troy Glennan, time trial champion at the Australian road cycling championships last September agrees with. "I've been with these guys before and the support from them was excellent. Any race we wanted to go to, they were there for us. With Frank and Dominic on board at the races it's going to be great," he says. Glennan is also confident the squad's balance will work very well, saying, "Everyone's got the ability to be in a race-winning position and I'm equally as confident everyone's going to be able to support whoever that person is."
24-year-old Peter McDonald, winner of the Tour of New Caledonia, is one rider who'll benefit enormously from the step up to a Continental team and looks set for a big future not so far down the track. He's another that believes the team will be stronger as a result of Caravello's careful selection. "The important thing about this team is that it's a balanced team; we have guys who can sit on the front all day and do the hard yards - we have climbers and sprinters too. That balance is really important, and we have it."
There's a special Italian flavour to this team, with the Fortuna brothers and Caravello all of Italian heritage. They appreciate quality, and were sure to make sure they had a quality package before going ahead with the venture. "I've been working hard with Frank to make this team happen, and we've been talking a lot - every day," says Caravello. "Frank's very careful before he says yes to ideas, and then one morning he says 'yes, I'll go ahead with you'." With all parties locked in, Caravello's confident their partnership can be fruitful, saying, "Frank's got some good ideas, and he agrees with me on things, so I think we can go on for a long, long time."
The full team roster:
Brendan Brooks, Robbie Cater, Troy Glennan, Jason Hegert, Brendan Jones, Aaron Little, Tony Mann, Josh Marden, Peter McDonald, Joe McDonald, Cody Stevenson