New continental team gives South Australia another boost
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the South Australia.com-AIS team comes another, wholly South Australian based Continental team: the Savings & Loans Cycling Team. The team was revealed on the eve of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, and although it won't compete as a team in this year's JCTDU, hopes are high that it will make selection for the 2007 race. The team does have a continental licence for this season and has already jagged an important rider in Australian elite champion Russell Van Hout.
Savings & Loans team manager Patrick Jonker said that the announcement brings South Australia one step closer to having its very on team in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. "The Savings & Loans Cycling Team will be a truly South Australian team made up of South Australian cyclists," he said. "It will provide considerable incentive and a pathway for all young riders in South Australia who dream of cycling in a professional outfit on the world stage. Hopefully, Russell's (Van Hout) result in the Australian Open Road Championships is a sign of things to come for the team."
National Road Champion and the team's first signing Russell Van Hout said Saturday's result was a strong beginning for the team. "I've only recently signed with the team so to start off with this result is tremendous," he said. "After a number of years travelling the world with an overseas outfit I'm looking forward to competing here at home with a South Australian based team. To be part of the first South Australian professional team is an enormous honour."
Other team members confirmed include one of South Australia's best riders Stephen Cunningham and promising youngsters Will Dickenson and James Hannam.