Genesys at a crossroads as Asian ambitions call

Genesys Wealth Advisers is fast becoming 'too big' to remain just another Australian domestic cycling team; a shark in a pond of minnows. After two years of what can only be called dominance from the orange-clad continental squad in the National Road Series, the question beckons, at what point does success within Australia lose its shimmer for the team, and its focus switch abroad?

Last year the team went someway to changing that domestic centered approach by taking on overseas racing at the Tour of Mumbai, Tour of Korea and Japan Cup, supplementing an otherwise full Australian calendar. And perhaps taking a lead from rivals and Asian adventurers Drapac Professional Cycling, the team has ramped things up further in 2012 with the addition of the 2.1 rated Tour of Taiwan to its growing program.

Team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston remains adamant that the focus is, and will continue to be the Australian season - at least for the foreseeable future.

"We have to look after our sponsors who are Australian, but we’re also trying to develop athletes," he explained. "To develop riders we need races; Asia is close to home so the travel isn’t too bad and the level is also pretty high. It works in well with the Australian calendar. We go there to give riders more experience, more racing, but we also go there to win.

"We’re in talks with our sponsors for 2013 onwards, and we need to be clear about what they want to get out of their commitment. If they’ve got a focus on us to be a dominant force in Asia, then that’s what we’ll do – we’ll try and race everything over there. There is a definitely a possibility that we’ll be expanding, and doing more Asian racing in the future.

"For the time being however, the main focus is definitely the NRS."

The Genesys manager said that though the team is ambitious, there had never been a concern about being unsatisfied with their achievements in Australia. Rider development he says remains the "overriding focus", and with a production line of athletes leaving the team year on year for greener pastures, Will Clarke (Champion System), Richie Porte (Sky), and more recently Nathan Haas (Garmin-Barracuda), the team is constantly renewing to sustain success rather than grow it.

"We’ve had success in the NRS as a team, but always with different riders, most of which are no longer with us. It would seem a natural progression for the team to raise our ambitions outwards, but we also have to look after a younger team and new riders. To presume they’re going to step-up and win the NRS – it’s not that easy.

"Campbell Flakemore and Anthony Giacoppo are great riders, and they’ll be the guys we’ll be counting on in a lot of races this year, but they’re also guys who’ve never taken on that lead role either, so it’s uncharted territory for them."

The team’s next race is the upcoming Tour of Taiwan, beginning March 10.

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Alex Hinds, Production Editor

Sydney, Australia

Follow @al_hinds

Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.

If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.

Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.

When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.