The Data#3 Symantec Racing Team have been racing in the National Road Series (NRS) since the 2007 season with several wins and podiums to its name during the last eight years. In 2015, the team will race under a Continental licence as it enters the third year of its five year plan and have recruited riders and staff, building a structure required for it to race sustainably at a higher level.
The team complemented its 2014 Australian racing calendar with appearances at Tour of Poyang Lake, winning the team classification, and the Tour of Southland and will look for more overseas success next season although results are not everything for Data#3 Symantec who are equally focused on the development of its young riders.
General manager of Data #3 Symnatec Terence Bonner spoke to Cyclingnews about the team and its 2014 season.
CN: Looking back, how would judge your 2014 NRS season?
Into our eighth season, it was another conservative building year and I'd consider it a successful one, from team harmony, results, happy sponsors and riders! We have developed some young Australian and NZ talent. We achieved our first NRS stage win, our first top 10 general classification result at an NRS tour (Battle on the Border), our best result at QLD Road Team Series, competed at a World Cup event in Spain and leaving the best till last, our first tour GC win at the 12 stage Tour of Poyang Lake, China. All of our riders improved their own results over the course of the year.
CN: What was different about the team this year, compared to last?
We ramped the program up, both Elite, Women's and Masters. At Elite level we did the most number of race days, UCI NZCC, Nationals, stack of NRS, over to Asia, back to NZ with Southland. It is a very long year of racing. Bringing on the two Frasers (Northey and Gough), bringing back David Melville, on-boarding quality riders such as Correy Edmed, Ben and Jacko Carman and Szollosi helped raise the bar to a new level for the team and we saw our existing roster all develop over the course of the year. It culminated in the boys winning the Tour of Poyang Lake. While not a UCI event, it had a stack of Continental level riders, was 12 stages over a 2 week period in a foreign country.
CN: What processes do you go through in recruiting riders?
We approach riders of interest, and receive interest from riders. Each rider brings something unique to the team, be it on-bike performance or off-bike expertise. All young riders need to do a power test, speak with team management in person. We background check everyone, review social media, speak to coaches. We don't rush recruitment.
This is a hard sport so we need certainty in the commitment level to training and availability for racing in amongst work, study and god help them a social life. On-boarding is so important to get right, it means the only off-boarding is a successful development of a rider up the cycling food chain or retiring with satisfaction. It isn't so much about results, or potential for results. It is how the team will function as a single unit toward a clear goal.
CN: What were the expectations of the team for the 2014 season and were they met?
The expectations were to compete at around top five and earn some respect in the NRS peloton. I think we largely achieved this. I was happy with the level of sponsor satisfaction.
CN: What is your team philosophy?
The Data#3 Symantec Racing Team's vision is to be an exceptional cycle racing team – one that unites riders to enable team success; inspires our riders to contribute on and off the bike every day; and rewards sponsor's confidence and support. The Data#3 Racing Team is particularly focused on:
• young rider talent development (on and off bike) and supporting pathway progression
• as a corporate cycle team, enabling differentiated business/trade connections
• assisting the promotion of healthy active lifestyles within its sponsorship community
• charitable support of New Hope Cambodia
CN: Did you target any particular races this year in the NRS?
Each race we do has its own goals and targets, but Battle on the Border and Tour of Toowoomba were always going to suit our strengths. But for mine Grafton to Inverell is still THE target race for the team to strive for success at!
CN: What is the most challenging race on the NRS calendar?
Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic
CN: Who did see as the stand-out rider this season?
Stand out riders were Fraser Gough (who is particularly endowed in the hamstring department) and Correy Edmed (who showed some great GC qualities).
CN: What are your thoughts on the NRS calendar in terms of length and location?
There has been very positive progression in the shaping of the NRS calendar. My personal preference though would be to see cycling focus on a racing season of around 7 months from October to April, then let riders experience different racing styles in Europe, Asia or the USA over our winter months. Condensing the racing season, to me, makes sense to sponsors, TV, riders and management.
CN: Financially, what are the major challenges in racing the NRS?
The stark reality is it is very expensive for any team to do the NRS. Given the amount of travel, where ever you are based in Australia, teams face a large flight bill. Young riders can either sit in a car for 4 days to get to a Victorian NRS and back and miss work/university, or fly down and back and arrive fresh…
CN: Are there any major changes to the team in 2015?
Yes - mega. There are 8 new riders coming on to complement our existing roster which is largely renewing, a stack of new sponsors, new sports directors. Same culture. We have submitted our Continental licence application to Cycling Australia and the UCI. I am excited to see the team come together, challenge in races and progress upward. I'd like to see a few of our riders push into Europe in 2016. Peter Richards (Teco Training) and Peter Zijerveld (Dutch Cycling Federation) are the teams Sports Directors.
CN: Who are your main financial and equipment sponsors?
The team is principally supported by Data#3 Limited, Symantec Australia and Scody. The team is grateful to attract the support of 24 corporate and technical sponsors.
2014 Data#3 Racing Team roster: David Melville, Fraser Northey, Elliot Kippen, Ben Carman, Jackson Carman, Riley Maule, Adam Allen, Correy Edmed, Kyle Bridgwood, Paul Lang, Alex Grunke, Fraser Gough and James Szollosi.