Team Type 1 founder Phil Southerland has revealed that he is looking to boost his team's budget and bring in new riders in order to secure a place on the start line of next year's Giro d'Italia. Southerland and Team Type 1 directeur sportif Vassili Davidenko met with Giro director Angelo Zomegnan yesterday to find out what they needed to do to raise the team's profile to the point where Zomegnan will consider them for the 2011 corsa rosa.
"It's been our plan all along. We've always been looking to develop a global platform and finding out what it would take to get the team into the 2011 Giro d'Italia is a key part of that strategy," Southerland told Cyclingnews. "We met up with Angelo Zomegnan to find out what would be required to get the team to a level where he would consider selecting us. He couldn't offer any guarantees that we will make the race but what we have to do now is put together a team with the right DNA, the right chemistry to get into the Giro d'Italia and use that race as a launchpad."
The meeting with Zomegnan was one of a series set up for Southerland and Davidenko by Piero Bondi at Limar Helmets, one of Team Type 1's key sponsors, with a view to raising the squad's level in the upcoming seasons.
"Now we know the things we have to do to get into the Giro," said Southerland. "We know what kind of budgetary requirements we're looking at, what calibre of riders we need. I don't know whether we will have more type 1 diabetic riders in the line-up. We already have four riders with type 1 diabetes in our pro team and they are capable of riding a race like the Giro."
He acknowledged that his very US-focused team will be looking to expand its European racing programme, with a place in the Tour de France the eventual goal. "We'll be looking at races leading up to the Giro and our longer term goal is to have the team in the Tour de France by 2012 and to ride the Giro every year from 2011 onwards.
"We've got to go away now and look at the business plan, but we'll be coming back to the Giro's start in Amsterdam in just over a week. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see Angelo again and also get a feel for what the Giro is all about because it's a fantastic race."
Southerland is confident that he can find the financial backing to give his team the boost it needs to challenge for a place in the grand tours. "We have great visibility to potential sponsors and a huge target audience. I did a presentation in Italy and used some new figures that showed that up to 43 percent of the American population is at risk of diabetes. We're reaching out to a lot of people and I'm sure a lot of companies would like to be involved in that."
While in Italy, Southerland and Davidenko also visited the Cambiago HQ of their bike suppliers Colnago. "I'd met Ernesto Colnago at the Las Vegas show, but it was unbelievable going to the bike museum there and seeing all the cycling history that they've made and been associated with. They are really class bikes, and seeing all the history of those different designs was a real privilege," said Southerland.
"We've got a two-year deal with them, so if we are at the Giro next year we'll be riding on Colnago bikes, which will be a truly beautiful experience. We're hoping that we can have a long association with them."