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Brings European experience to Australian team’s Pro Conti bid
Drapac Cycling has announced the signing of Henk Vogels as a directeur sportif for the 2014 season. Following successful stints as a directeur with Fly V Australia and Rusvelo, the Australian ex-professional is excited to be joining the exciting Drapac project.
"I'm just super excited to get back into the driver's seat," Vogels said.
"I'm extremely motivated and really excited about the bolstered roster. We're working incredibly hard to take this Australian team to the world. I've watched the way that Drapac has grown over the past decade to be not only one of the best teams that Australia's ever produced, but also make their mark in Asia."
Jonathan Breekveldt, Drapac team manager, is similarly enthused to have Vogels on board.
"Henk brings a lot of experience to the team, not only as an ex-professional but also as a leader and directeur sportif. His record that was achieved in the States with the Fly V team, despite its outcomes, stands as a great testament to the way that he works with athletes."
Vogels, Australian Road Race Champion in 1999, raced as a professional between 1995 and 2008. He started his career for top European teams including Rabobank, Davitamon Lotto and Credit Agricole, before closing out his career with Mercury and Navigators in the US.
In 2009, Vogels became a directeur sportif for the Fly V Australian Continental team where he oversaw 250 victories with the squad.
Two riders confirmed for 2014 for the Drapac squad are Bernard Sulzberger and Darren Lapthorne with the team expected to announce some of their other signings in the coming weeks.
The team does, however, remain wary of the tough time Vogels went through in the Pegasus debacle, and drawing on this Breekveldt believes Vogels' experience will be invaluable to the Australian team.
"The experience that Henk brings to the team will prevent us from learning some lessons the hard way," Breekveldt explained.
"Having met with the UCI two weeks ago in Switzerland, the team is making great progress in regards to securing a Professional Continental licence for 2014," Breekveldt continued.
"The sponsorship agreement and bank guarantee are all ready to go so we're in a very strong position to meet the October 1 deadline without any hiccups."
Should the application process be successful, Drapac will make their first steps on the WorldTour stage at the Tour Down Under in January next year with the 2016 Tour de France remaining a long term goal.