Former rider Tom Southam has replaced Henk Vogels as sports director at the Australian Drapac Professional Cycling team.
Southam, who rode for the team in 2007, moves from his current position as media officer and part time sports director at Rapha Condor JLT, while Vogels has decided to step away from the sport and spend more time with his family. Southam will move to Australia on a permanent basis later this week as the team looks to build a stronger squad for the start of the Australian road season.
"I talked to the team a few months ago and they said that there might be an opportunity coming up," Southam told Cyclingnews.
"This is a team that's developed a lot since the year that I rode for them in 2007 and there's a real focus from the management right down to the riders. I'm really excited to be getting involved."
Southam rode for Rapha Condor JLT before hanging up his wheels at the end of 2011. He then moved into a media role, working at Cyclingnews' sister publication, ProCycling for several months. His time at Rapha, under the stewardship of John Herety developed over time and Southam was given opportunities to direct the team at international races. The move to Drapac will see him move into a permanent role of a director.
"You've got to throw yourself into the deep end at some point and I know that this is different to what I've been doing with Rapha Condor but this is a good move. Maybe I wasn't pushing myself enough where I was and when this opportunity came about I had to go for it. I spoke to Charly Wegelius and he offered me some important advice and overall this is a step up and step forward for me. I hope to bring a lot to Drapac and I'm of course looking forward to working closely with team."
Drapac had a steady 2014 season but have major objectives for the future. Team owner Michael Drapac has publicly stated that the aim is to join the elite UCI WorldTour in the coming seasons and Southam is aware that improvements need to be made if such a step can be made possible.
"They want to head back to the US and do more of the major races there. They're looking at trying to get into the Tour of California and there's also a big ambition to race more in Europe with the long term objective of trying to join the WorldTour," Southam told Cyclingnews.