Following the announcement today (June 30th) of Drapac Capital Partners becoming a title sponsor of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and substantial shareholder of Slipstream Sports, the red Drapac logo is set for its debut at the 2016 Tour de France, while the existing team prepares for exciting changes in 2017.
Throughout the remainder of 2016, Drapac Professional Cycling will continue to race as a UCI Professional Continental team. On January 1st 2017, the Drapac Capital Partners sponsorship will be spread across the Cannondale-Drapac World Tour team, and the Drapac-Pat’s Veg development team.
“Since Drapac Professional Cycling took out a Pro-Continental license in 2014, we have clearly stated that our goal has been two-fold; to reach the Tour de France, and to promote the philosophy of athletes well-being and holistic athlete development which has underpinned this team from the start.”
“By joining with the Slipstream organization Drapac will now be able to both offer a complete development program with a direct pathway to the World Tour, as well as greater exposure for the philosophy that we work under, it will also see some of our existing riders achieve their – and our – sporting goals,” Drapac Professional Cycling’s General Manager Jonathan Breekveldt said.
While little will change for the existing Drapac team in 2016, the merging of the two teams in 2017 will see resources from the current Drapac Professional Cycling Team transitioned to Drapac-Pat’s Veg, while providing the opportunity for a number of riders and staff to move to the World Tour at Cannondale-Drapac.
“We have been working very hard to make sure everyone in the team can make the most out of the opportunity that they now have in front of them. The WorldTour is an extremely different proposition even to racing at Pro-Continental level and we have been mindful of that throughout the 2016 season, making sure that those who will and will not make the transition are equally prepared,” commented Breekveldt.
Some other elements, such as the Drapac philosophy of holistic development will also be shared with the new WorldTour team. As part of its steadfast commitment athlete well-being, the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team will offer a service to its riders next season that encourages growth beyond the sport of cycling. Together with Crossing the Line, an organization designed to assist athletes transition out of professional competition, the pro team will offer workshops, individual counseling services, mentoring, and robust educational support to its riders. It is the first program of its kind at WorldTour level. Crossing the Line Founder Gearoid Towey is a former Olympic athletes himself.
While racing at WorldTour level will be an exciting venture for the team, founder and owner Michael Drapac remains equally enthused about the development pathway being created through Drapac-Pat’s Veg, and the unique environment it will provide.
“We need to teach our athletes to be whole. When the door of being an athlete closes, you would hope that they have the resources — financial and emotional — to transition to another phase of their lives. We need to understand that the human cost of professional sport is just horrific. And we want to win bike races, but that’s why I developed the holistic development team.”
Drapac-Pat’s Veg requires riders to either attend university courses or pursue professional-level certifications or apprenticeships. The team is structured to provide favorable racing schedules that allow racers to attend classes or pursue professions. Riders on the development team will be given every opportunity to make the World Tour team. The development team will be a UCI Continental registered squad based in Australia that competes in Europe for part of the season. The program also stresses riders take time to be involved in their communities.
Drapac Professional Cycling’s next event will be the Tour of Austria, which starts on July 2nd.
For more on the development team, visit www.drapaccycling.com