By Paul Verkuylen
Drapac-Porsche is looking forward to its next race in Europe, the Tour of Austria, after making its successful debut on the continent in the UCI 1.1 Halle-Ingooigem. At its first Belgian race last month both Rob McLachlan (11th) and current Australian champion Darren Lapthorne (14th) finish in the lead group.
The outfit will be looking to impress in July, going up against seven ProTour teams at the Tour of Austria, including T-Mobile and Discovery Channel, followed by Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca and his Liquigas teammates at the Brixia Tour.
"It will be a great learning experience and opportunity to race alongside cyclists whom I've looked up for the last 10 years," explained Lapthorne.
Drapac-Porsche's team manager, Scott McGrory, sees the tour as a major stepping stone for the team as well as its riders. "It's a whole new ball game over there [Europe]," he said. "However, the Program is ready to make the step up. Several of our riders certainly have the talent required to go all the way as Professional riders, so it's now time to give them a taste of what to expect."
Following the July 8-15 Tour of Austria, the squad travels to Italy for the July 26-29 Brixia Tour. The riders will then contest two one-day races in Germany before returning home to contest the remaining Cycling Australia National Road Series events.
Drapac-Porsche Tour of Austria roster: Rob McLachlan, Stuart Shaw; Phil Thuaux, Robbie Williams, Dean Windsor, Mitch Docker, Darren Lapthorne and Tom Southam.