Western Australian National Road Series (NRS) team Satalyst-Giant will be known as Navitas-Satalyst from 2015 and will race under a UCI Continental license allowing them to take part in 1.1 and 2.1 races.
The team has acquired the sponsorship of Navitas, a global education provider, for next season allowing them race in Asian races along with the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in February to complement a full NRS calendar. The team has also signed former FDJ and Orica-GreenEdge rider Wes Sulzberger for 2015.
Team manager Wayne Evans explained to Cyclingnews that the timing was right to move up to the next level with the acquisition of Navitas as the new naming rights sponsor.
"We tried to go Continental this year and it seemed hard to get sponsors quite honestly," Evans said. "We weren't in a financial position to take the Continental license for 2014. We've been working on it for a few of years finding the right partners and right time to do it and grow has been a bit of hurdle that we've had to overcome.
"We've now found the right partners, sponsorships, equipment and suppliers who want to be with us and hence, we are moving forward."
The team has previous racing experience in Asia at 2.2 races such as the Le Tour de Filipinas and the Tour of Thailand, where they have enjoyed overall success, and will look to improve upon their performance next season at a higher level of racing.
"We've had a number of good results in Asia over the years but next year we want to try to attract invitations to the 2.1 races and get a good start in those events," Evans said.
The team will also look to ensure publicity of the Navitas name in Asia as the education provider looks to attract students to its Australian campuses for study.
The first objectives for the team will good performances over the Australian summer at the nationals, Jayco Herald Sun Tour and the Cadel Evans Road Race before a block of Asian racing. The NRS will remain a key target in 2015 with the aim of breaking into the top three of the overall team classification.
Navitas-Satalyst will become the fourth Australian NRS team to take up a Continental license alongside African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team, Avanti and BudgetForklifts.
Evans further outlined the team's ambitions in 2015, adding that, "We are going to attend as many races as we think necessary and achievable. We don't want to send teams for the sake of sending teams. We want to send competitive teams and we have a rider roster that can be competitive in Asia and Australia.
"What we want to do is get our guys to as possible to races as possible, satisfy our sponsor commitments and performance criteria. If we do that, the second year we may have more money coming through the door which will facilitate the other little luxuries which come on top of the core essence of what we do, race."
The addition of Sulzberger to the team next season will help in achieving its aims as Evans explained.
"I am very happy with that," Evans said of signing Sulzberger. "For us to have a guy with five years WorldTour experience, a previous U23 Australian champion and silver medallist at the U23 world championships and part of the team when Cadel Evans won in Mendrisio is a complete bonus for us.
"He's going to be our captain and probably our leader as well as in the sense that he will be providing most of our physical results alongside some of our younger guys."
The team loses Pat Shaw, who moves back to the Avanti team for 2015, and Evans paid tribute to his role in developing the younger riders and instilling a greater sense of belief in themselves during the season which he believes will pay dividends in the future.
"This year we took the plunge of bringing Pat Shaw on-board and we paid him a salary which was the first time our team has gone down that road of paying riders," he said. "I am must say that I was very pleased with the output that we had from Pat this year and it bolstered our guys confidence, their own thoughts and convictions in how they do their job of racing bikes."
With the team's Asian racing calendar for 2015 currently unknown as it waits for invitations, Evans believes he has a balanced squad that will be competitive throughout the season.
"Our plan is to have 18 guys on our roster and that includes our Continental and NRS objectives met with those riders. Some of our guys are U19 so they won't be able to do the Continental stuff because they are too young so they'll just do the NRS races. We'll have three or maybe four development riders as well.
"I think it's fair to say we'll spread the racing across the board but it's impossible to say how many race days they'll get at this stage."
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