Australian continental team Drapac-Porsche enjoyed a successful season at races such as the Tour de Langkawi, Japan Cup, Tour of Okinawa, Melbourne-Warnambool and the recent Tour of Bright.
Now registered as Drapac Professional Cycling, the Melbourne-based squad aims to continue that momentum in the 2011 edition of the Tour de Langkawi, despite missing its star rider, Peter McDonald, who finished fourth overall and was crowned King of the Mountain of the 2010 race.
Team manager Agostino Giramondo will take David Pell, Rhys Pollock, Stuart Shaw, Tom Palmer, and two non-Australian riders, Goesinnen Floris of Holland and Malaysian-born Mohammad Adiq Hussainie Othman.
Of the six riders, only Palmer and Goesinnen will make their Langkawi debut but Pell, Pollock, Shaw and Adiq will return to continue the challenges in the flat stages.
Shaw was the winner of the final stage in Dataran Merdeka in the 2010 edition, outsprinting Footon Servetto's Vidal Celis. His attendance along with Pollock and Palmer is expected to strengthen the sprinting power of the team.
The 33-year-old Shaw, who started with the Canberra Cycling Club before being recognised for his quick acceleration when he claimed third in the 2008 Halle-Ingooigem 1.1-ranked event in Belgium behind Quickstep's Gert Steegmans and Team Columbia's Michael Rogers.
Shaw went on to win the first stage of the Tour de Gironde in 2009, Ambacht criterion in the Netherlands and the final stage of the Tour de Nouvelle Caledonie.
His persistence in breakaways resulted in Shaw being named the most aggressive rider in the opening stage one the Jayco Herald Sun Tour last year and he's expected to continue in this fashion when the Tour de Langkawi kicks off on January 23.
At 20 years old Palmer is quite a talented young rider and managed to win the Japan Cup criterium only a few weeks after returning from nasal surgery. The Canberra resident was world champion in the time trial at the junior World Championships in Mexico in 2007 before being recruited to Drapac for the 2010 season.
Drapac will rely on experienced Dutch rider Goesinnen to climb the difficult mountain stages of Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands. With skills collected with Skil-Shimano in Europe, including a ride in the Tour of Flanders, he emerged as one of the best-placed Dutch riders in the 2007 Paris-Roubaix.
"Floris specialises in finding opportunities to break away from the peloton early in the race," said Giramondo referring to the rider who was crowned King of Mountain at the Three Days of de Panne, placed second in the King of the Mountains at the Denmark Runhfahrt and fourth in the Grand Prix Temse during 2010.
Drapac will continue gaining the support of Malaysian fans as it retains talented young rider Adiq Hussainie for the 2011 season. Adiq was the best Malaysian rider when he finished 35th in the 2010 Tour de Langkawi; he is Malaysia's road race national champion and continues to excel in track events.
Drapac Professional Cycling for the Tour de Langkawi: David Pell; Rhys Pollock; Stuart Shaw; Tom Palmer; Floris Goesinnen; Muhamad Adiq Husainnie Othman. Team Manager: Agostino Giramondo