Team owner Michael Drapac addresses the crowd
Drapac Professional Cycling’s 2014 season has been launched in Adelaide, Australia,
ahead of the Professional Continental team’s UCI WorldTour debut at the Santos
Tour Down Under.
All 17 riders that make up the squad took to the Mercury
Cinema stage as the unique philosophy of Drapac Professional Cycling was brought
to life in front of media and invited guests including South Australian Minister
for Tourism Recreation and Sport, Hon. Leon Bignell, MP.
Team Principal and highly successful property mogul Michael Drapac spoke emotionally of the importance of developing athletes outside their sport, and how “every worthy
business has a social responsibility agenda.”
Drapac began his journey
with the team a decade ago and in the time since has focused on giving athletes
the awareness, skills and support to be great citizens not just within sport but
within the wider community.
Drawing on the ideals of the International
Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency, Drapac explained that the
team wasn’t “reinventing the wheel”, instead reinforcing what these sporting
luminaries were stating at a time when change is required in cycling like never
“There comes a point in time in an athlete’s career when they
must transition and re-integrate back into the world.
“Everyone in sport
has a duty, a responsibility, to ensure that that difficult process and it is a
difficult process – ask any athlete that’s been through it – that it’s as
painless as possible. We need to invest the resources, the time, and the real
heart and soul into assisting those athletes otherwise we’ve just exploited
On Tuesday, Drapac Professional Cycling will make its UCI
WorldTour debut at the Santos Tour Down Under. From the car, Directeur Sportif
Henk Vogels will lead the team on the road. Vogels said that fans could expect
much the same racing attitude that won so many hearts a week ago at the Cycling
Australia Road National Championships.
“You’re going to see a lot of red
and white and I’m not talking about Katusha, either,” Vogels told MC Matthew
One of the team’s longest-serving members, 2007 Australian Road
Champion Darren Lapthorne said there was a good feeling within the squad about
competing in the six stage race.
“I’m amazed here,” he said. “It feels like
the WorldTour has really invited us to this race… We feel welcome here. We feel
worthy for this race and all the races to come.”
New recruit for the 2014
season, Jonathan Cantwell who is overseeing bike partner SwiftCarbon’s
operations in Australia said that he was “really grateful that the opportunity
[to race with Drapac] came my way.” Cantwell exemplifies the model of preparing
himself for life beyond a sporting career.
“When I see the guys out in
their kit with the SwiftCarbon on their shoulders and riding down Mt. Hotham at
90km/h, it’s really satisfying and I feel really privileged to be in the
position that I’m in,” Cantwell said.
The Santos Tour Down Under begins
Tuesday with a 135km stage between Nuriootpa and Angaston.