Drapac-Porsche demands enquiry as Australian cycling grapples with increased investment
Australian cycling is developing so quickly that it now has a special problem - too many ambitious new pro teams and too few slots in its premier stage race. Mark Zalewski of Cyclingnews reports from Adelaide.
The ninth edition of the Tour Down Under (TDU) is currently on the road in and around the South Australian capital of Adelaide, with fourteen teams invited to take the start in the country's premier international stage race. Eight of those teams are from Europe, with four ProTour level teams among them, the maximum allowed by UCI regulations.
There are four professional continental squads from Europe, as well as one from the USA and a 'composite' team invited from New Zealand. There are two Australian teams in the race, the South Australian-based 'composite' team Australia-UniSA, as well as the UCI-registered Continental squad, South Australia.com-AIS, the country's national U23 development squad that has raced in Europe for many seasons in its previous identity as the Mapei-AIS team. However, the lack of more Australian teams, specifically privately-funded UCI trade teams, has ruffled some feathers.
The Drapac-Porsche team, which is Australia's first ever UCI Professional Continental team (see feature on the team), issued a press release on Monday, January 15, in the wake of its success that previous weekend, where it scored an impressive one-two in the country's major one-day road race. The release revealed its frustration with the organisers of the Tour Down Under for not inviting the team to participate, and Drapac-Porsche also pointed to the exclusion of two other UCI-registered Australian professional teams; the Continental status Savings & Loans squad, also based in South Australia, as well as the FRF Couriers-NSWIS team, based in NSW).
"The race is neglecting the professional teams of Australia which is hindering the development of the teams in here," team manager Scott McGory, a gold medallist in the Madison in the Sydney Olympics, told Cyclingnews. "The last year to 18 months there have been many developments in Australian cycling, including our team taking an upgraded UCI registration, which shows we are taking more than a few steps."
The press release, titled "Australian Champion not good enough for Tour Down Under," cited the team's recent one-two finish by Darren Lapthorne and Robert McLachlan, respectively, at the Australian Open Road Championships (AORC) as one of many indications to garner an invitation.
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