By Greg Johnson
Australia's Drapac-Porsche cycling team has announced it's been approved as the nation's first professional continental team. "The registration has been approved," confirmed Drapac's Adam Murchie. "It opens up another whole opportunity to the team now, for us to move forward."
The Melbourne-based outfit will expand to 21-members for 2007 by adding new riders from both the East and West coasts of Australia, in addition to retaining its full 2006 roster. Another new addition to the outfit is former six day track competitor Scott McGrory, who has been appointed as the team manager.
McGrory revealed to Cyclingnews that the team is currently in discussions with various European race organisers about its yet to be confirmed schedule. The outfit, which has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Giant, is expected to head to both Europe and Asia in 2007, as well as maintaining a strong presence the local road-racing scene.
"We're pushing for a Tour Down Under start – we'd like to see something happen there as we're Australia's first pro-conti team," said McGrory.
Despite the outfit's increased roster and schedule for 2007, it's more determined than ever to encourage performance off the race track, as well as on. Over the coming months the outfit will be launching even more programs to aid its athletes' personal and professional growth.
"We're about to launch a mentoring program where each team rider has an individual mentor," revealed McGrory. "They will be somewhat removed from the team. They can work through problems, and assist them in other areas of their life. A lot of these people are preeminent business people."
Look out for a full feature from Cyclingnews on this news story next week.