Australian professional track outfit Team Jayco was launched in Adelaide, Australia on Wednesday ahead of the opening round of the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester, Great Britain, on October 31 to November 1.
Headed by Australian national sprint coach Gary West, the team is the continuation of Team Toshiba, with sponsorship duties undertaken by Jayco, the Australian manufacturer of touring vehicles and caravans, which has an existing and extensive commitment to Australian cycling.
The team includes current World Champion Kaarle McCulloch and 2008 Beijing Olympiam Daniel Ellis, with Scott Sunderland, Shane Perkins and Jason Niblett rounding out the roster.
Both Sunderland and Niblett explained that the team's premise - making an increased financial commitment to develop Australian cycling - allowed the nation's elite track riders to focus on making continual improvements to performance.
"Toshiba was great, and money was put purely into this team, but Jayco is putting resources into the program and on an individual basis, so this becomes our job - we're paid to perform and results should follow. It's going to make life a lot easier," said Niblett.
"It gives us enough time to focus on riding and not have to worry about other aspects of life, so you can give it 100 percent and make achieving the goal - which is London - more visible," said Sunderland.
West, the man at the helm of Australia's sprint campaign explained that the team "gives us the chance to blood some young and developing athletes - we'll be able to field two teams in most of the World Cup events.
"World Cups are part of the qualification process for the World Championships and Olympic Games, so it helps if we can field riders in the national team and Team Jayco."
With the UCI likely to implement proposed changes to the Olympic cycling program, Australia serves to benefit from the addition of new events, including the women's team sprint. The Australian pair of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch is the World Champion in the event and West pointed out that Meares and McCulloch will join forces at World Cup events with the ultimate goal of gold at the London Olympics in 2012.
"Kaarle McCulloch is currently on Team Jayco while Anna Meares is on the national team, and they are the reigning World Champions in their chosen events, so we'll need to be able to ride them together from time to time at World Cups," explained West. "On those occasions, Kaarle will exit Team Jayco and ride in the national team - by doing this, it frees up spots in Team Jayco."
The aim is to foster depth in the national squad, which allows for any unforeseen circumstances in an Olympic year which have the potential to hinder Australia's chances of taking medals in London.
As reigning Olympic champions heading into last year's Olympics, Australia wasn't granted a place in the Madison at the Beijing Games due to an inadequate points aggregate garnered throughout the qualification process, which of course included World Cup events and World Championships.
Management behind Team Jayco are well aware that the squad will serve an important role in ensuring this shouldn't happen in the future.
"We'll do our best to avoid any such scenario - I don't anticipate it being a problem, but in saying that there are always unforeseen circumstances that may arise. We're very mindful of it, we know what we've got to do and we're well on the way to planning and plotting for London," said West.
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