The Cannondale team will become Cannondale-Drapac for the Tour de France and the remainder of this season, with a full merger between the American WorldTour squad and the Australian Pro Continental Drapac outfit announced for 2017. The deal is set to run for five years.
The Cannondale team announced the secondary sponsor on Thursday morning along with a new jersey, which the riders will wear at the Tour de France. Pierre Rolland is set to be the team's sole leader after Andrew Talansky opted to skip the Tour in favour of the Vuelta a España.
Drapac will continue their sponsorship of the Pro Continental team until the end of 2016. In 2017, the company will continue their sponsorship of the WorldTour squad and will also fund a development squad, which will be called Drapac-Pat's Veg. Riders and staff from the current Drapac team will be given an opportunity to step up to the WorldTour team while others will be moved into the development set-up. The Drapac Pro Continental team was set up in 2005, founded by Australian property developer Michael Drapac. He is now joint owner of Slipstream Sports, the company behind the Cannondale team
"Since Drapac Professional Cycling took out a Pro-Continental license in 2014, we have clearly stated that our goal has been two-fold; to reach the Tour de France, and to promote the philosophy of athletes well-being and holistic athlete development which has underpinned this team from the start," Drapac Professional Cycling’s General Manager Jonathan Breekveldt said.
"By joining with the Slipstream organization Drapac will now be able to both offer a complete development program with a direct pathway to the World Tour, as well as greater exposure for the philosophy that we work under, it will also see some of our existing riders achieve their - and our - sporting goals."
Slipstream Sports, already confirmed their partnership with Drapac in setting up a development team. The new Drapac-Pat's Veg continental squad will look to ensure riders have focuses and skills outside of the sport. They will require their riders to attend university or take on professional-level certifications or apprenticeships. The team will look to plan rider's commitments around those courses.
"We need to teach our athletes to be whole. When the door of being an athlete closes, you would hope that they have the resources - financial and emotional - to transition to another phase of their lives. We need to understand that the human cost of professional sport is just horrific. And we want to win bike races, but that's why I developed the holistic development team," Drapac explained.