Drapac gunning for 2016 Tour de France invite

Current Australian UCI Continental outfit Drapac Professional Cycling are hoping that next season's planned move up to Professional Continental ranks leads to a start at the 2016 Tour de France.

Team Principle and financial backer, Michael Drapac has told the Australian Financial Review that the team was aiming high for its second stint at Professional Continental level.

"Nearly all the Pro Continental teams that have existed in recent years race in the big classic races or the three grand tours – the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia or the Vuelta [a Espana]," Drapac said. "That is our goal and I can't really see anything that would stop us."

It's a plan that may be easier said than done. In 2013, any wildcard entries given out by the Tour's organisers, the ASO, went to French outfits - Cofidis, Sojasun and Team Europcar. It was the third year in a row that ASO had awarded all of its available wildcards to French squads.

After the team's one-year stint at ProConti level, in recent seasons Drapac has gone back to racing as a Continental outfit with programs in Australia, Asia and Europe. Since the team's inception in 2004, Drapac has grown to become a substantial force in the region with national titles added to victories in Australia, throughout Asia and Europe.

The team is currently lobbying for a start at the Australian WorldTour event, the Tour Down Under for next year.

Cyclingnews understands that a decision is yet to be made on Drapac's previously mooted plans to register in the United States with a final call dependent on where any sponsorship funds come from.

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