As a Pro-Continental team Drapac Pro Cycling have been handed the opportunity to embrace the 'continental' with a maiden appearance at the 50th Presidential Tour of Turkey from April 27 to May 4. This is the second time in 2014 the squad will be against WorldTour teams having raced the Tour Down Under in January.
The Australian team are sending eight riders to the 2.HC race who will all fly over to the country that straddles Europe and Asia having just completed a training camp on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels believes the team is more than ready for the race and the riders are fit and raring to go.
"From all reports via our Director of Performance, Keith Flory, all riders are in top condition," Vogels said.
The eight stage race covers a total of 1254km starting from Alanya on the Mediterranean coast as the race heads north to Istanbul. 27-year-old Wes Sulzberger, is the only rider who has ridden the race and last did so in 2011 when riding for Francaise des Jeux.
"The tour has changed a bit since 2011 with hilltops in this year's race," said Sulzberger who won the opening stage of the Adelaide Tour earlier this month. "It's going to be a challenging one for GC."
Wouter Wippert, who recently won the OCBC Singapore Criterium, adding to Tour de Taiwan and New Zealand Cycle Classic stage victories, will be the protected rider in the sprint train for the first two stages as he goes up against the likes of Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
The third stage from Finike to Elmali with a finish line at 1825 metres above sea level is the first general classification test of the race and Sulzberger believes a waiting game may play out on the 185km stage before the racing heats up on the ascent.
"A break will be likely to go away early during this stage, but with a lot of WorldTour teams I feel it will be controlled and they will reel the breakaway in and each team will launch their GC riders into the final climb."
With several sprint friendly stages, the GC men will only have limited opportunities to chase stage wins and stage six with a mountainous finish in Selcuk is likely to be divisive in deciding the overall winner of the 2014 edition of the race.
"Drapac has options for everything this tour can throw at us," said Vogels. "The team won't be wasting any opportunities and I can't wait to see how we perform against some of the best in the world once again."
Drapac Pro Cycling for the the 50th Presidential Tour of Turkey: Jai Crawford, Floris Goesinnen, Robbie Hucker, Adam Phelan, Lachlan Norris, Bernard Sulzberger, Wes Sulzberger and Wouter Wippert.
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