Entering its fifth year registered in the National Road Series, the team managed by former professional Trent Wilson announced that the GPM-Wilson Racing team will become GPM-Data#3 in 2013. The NSW-based team announced a 16-rider roster that, according to team director Wilson, will be better prepared when racing begins on January 1.
The team experienced an up and down 2012 after recording breakout performances in 2011 with stage wins at Tour of Gippsland, Murray River and Tasmania, with Wilson admitting changes needed to be made to ensure they can compete with the bigger budget Australian Continental teams.
Wilson's team finished in second spot behind Genesys Wealth Advisers in the NRS team classification in 2011, however the team would finish in fifth this year after a slower start to the season. Wilson says it was difficult to watch his team not achieve the results they are capable of early in the season but insists changes are being implemented before the year is up so the team is ready when racing begins.
"I think last year, the way the nationals was with GreenEdge, it was an absolute bloodbath for anyone that was underdone," Wilson told Cyclingnews. "Certainly we were shown to be underdone there and this is something I want to change. To make sure we are going into the biggest races of the year, at the start of the year, with the best possible preparation."
Genesys Wealth Advisers, Team Budget Foklifts and Drapac Professional Cycling were the top-three teams in the NRS this year. Wilson believes he's put together a group capable of rivaling the best on the domestic circuit. To achieve his goal of "winning as many races, stages and tours as possible" the team has already begun preparing for the 2013 season.
"I'm going to change things around a little bit. The team will do Tour of Bright, the Cronulla crits and a big training camp in December so we make sure we hit the ground running for Bay Crits [Mitchelton Bay Cycle Classic], Sun Tour, Nationals and Tour of Wellington [NZ Cycle Classic]," said Wilson.
The former Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling and Colombia-Selle Italia rider admits the team suffered with the loss of sprinters Phil Grenfell, who moved to Competitive Cyclist for 2012 and Joe Lewis, who has returned for 2013, but it's something which he insists will not be the case with the revised NRS calendar, changes to the team roster and the way in which he prepares his team for the bigger Australian races.
"This year we struggled to have a third or fourth rider there. We always had one or two at the front but every tour or every race we lacked that third strong rider. I've signed three or four strong riders who can, in my opinion, fill that middle part of the team.
"With a more spread-out NRS series, there's almost a tour every couple of weeks. We did struggle early on [this year] to get results because we can't afford to do the one week overseas tours like the big three teams can. We are often going into NRS tour without race fitness. We will definitely fill any gaps in racing with more training camps for next year."
Registering as a Continental team was discussed with team management however, Wilson says he's not ready to take that next step and the NRS is still a top priority. A number of the team's top riders including Joe Lewis, Chris Jory, Scott Law and Josh Taylor intend on spending part of the season overseas and if GPM-Data#3 was Continental, they would be limited in their additional overseas campaigns. It's something he believes will be more likely in the coming years.
"The management spoke about going Continental and if the Sun Tour wasn't NRS [and had the previous UCI 2.2 status] we probably would have applied for a Continental license. The benefit of Conti would have been to get better starts in Asia but that isn't a priority for the team. We would like to do one or two Asian tours in 2013 if they present themselves. Definitely the is the racing next year to remain in Australia."
"Number one goal is the NRS, to win as many races, stages and tours as possible. If the NRS team classification comes out of that then all good but I just want to win as many races as possible."
GPM-Data#3 roster for 2013
Andrew Crawley, Jesse Ewart, Julian Hamill, James Hepburn, Chris Jory, Scott Law, Joseph Lewis, Alastair Loutit, Jake Magee, David Melville, Daniel O'Keefe, Sam Rutherford, Josh Taylor, Michael Troy, Edward White and Sam Wood.