By Paul Verkuylen
An Australian based consortium, Australian Road Cycling, today announced their plans to develop a cycling programme that will hopefully see them field a team at the 2010 Tour de France. Founded by ex-professional beach volleyball player turned barrister, Benjamin Fitzmaurice and Dr Claudio Bozzi, the pair's aim is to develop a cycling programme that will see cycling grow at a grass roots level as well as provide a platform for an Australian-based professional team to compete at the highest level in Europe.
Still in its infancy, the project has the support of former professional cyclist and Giro d'Italia stage winner, David McKenzie, along with former professional team owner Susan Stewart, who has also worked on the Tour of Ireland.
"We are looking for Australian or international sponsors who have an interest in developing in the Australian/Asian market," Fitzmaurice explained. The group has yet to secure a main sponsor for the squad, which is planned to be up and running as early as the 2009 season.
"If we find a sponsor who is willing, we can start as a Continental or Pro Continental team in 2009. We have been talking to some talented riders who are currently riding in Europe, North America and Asia as well as some local riders," he added.
The squad aims to have riders competing on both the Australian scene as well as the European professional circuit. As a safe guard to protect potential sponsors and investors, Australian Road Cycling have set up an ethics committee, headed by Supreme Justice Gillard, to oversee the more delicate issues surrounding the conduct and performance of the athletes within the team.