As we’re all too well aware, the sport has lost five top line teams for 2014 with no new teams coming in at Pro Continental or World Tour level to replace them; a sad state of affairs.
But bucking the trend and moving up from Continental to Pro Continental level – the only team to do so – is Australian outfit, Drapac.
We thought we’d like to get to know more about the team – and who better to ask than 2013 Australian U23 Road race Champion, Jordan Kerby who’ll sport Drapac’s well known red kit for 2014?
We spoke to Kerby last April just after he’d signed for Christina Watches – ‘Michael Rasmussen’s team’ as many might refer to it – for 2013, but it was a forgettable Euro season for the young man from Brisbane and he told us that he’d prefer to look ahead with Drapac rather than back to Christina.
We approve of that attitude.
It was 2009 when his palmares began with a bronze in the Australian Junior Points Championship and a win the Australian Junior Team Pursuit Championships alongside current reigning World Elite Pursuit Champion, Michael Hepburn.
One year later he’d exchanged bronze for gold in the Aussie junior points and added the world title at the same discipline plus a world title in the junior team pursuit.
His best result in 2011 was silver the Australian Team Pursuit Championship; but 2012 saw the results turned on, again – but on the road.
He took the prologue in the Tour of Thailand, a stage in the Mersey Valley Tour in Aus, the prologue in the North West Tour – also in his home land; and 10th overall in the Tour of China.
And Kerby was one of the ‘names’ of early 2013 with a prologue win and spell in the leader’s jersey in the Australian, Herald Sun Tour – but really caught the eye with his win in the Australian U23 Road Race Championship.
He signed with Danish Continental squad Christina Watches for 2013 – but he’d rather discuss season 2014 with Drapac.
And not long after we spoke to Jordan he started his season in the best possible style with victory in the Australian U23 TT Championship; the 21-year-old took the gold in a time of 34:56.44, proving too strong for South Australian pair Harry Carpenter (+0.2) and Miles Scotson (+14.1) to start Drapac’s season in fine style.
And just for the record, Kerby averaged 398 watts for the ride.
Season 2013 – putting it down to experience, Jordan?
“Season 2013 started really well for me with the Sun Tour, Nationals and TDU all being pretty successful for me.
“The rest of 2013 didn’t go so well, it was a very foreign environment and there wasn’t a great deal of racing.
“But it was definitely an experience.”
It must be good to back in the warmth of Oz?
“Absolutely, year round I don’t think you can beat Australia for great weather.
“I spent a few months earlier this year in absolutely freezing conditions.
“I definitely prefer the warmth we have here, particularly in Queensland.”
You had a wee spell with Budget Forklifts?
“Yes, I came back from Europe quite early and still wanted to see the season out with some NRS racing.
“I know Cam Watt of Budget quite well; he’s from Brisbane like me.
“I asked him if he had any room for some of the later races on the calendar and he was more than happy to fit me in.”
But you went to Drapac – how did you get the ride?
“I had contact with Drapac a few months ago.
“They had clear intentions of going pro-continental, a good race program and I liked their philosophy so it was an easy choice for me to sign with them.”
What is ‘Drapac’ – can you tell us a little about the team; how long has it been going, what does the main sponsor get out of it?
“The Drapac Company itself is a property investment and development company.
“The cycling aspect started with Michael Drapac personally sponsoring some junior athletes in the late 90’s. Since the mid 2000’s Drapac Professional Cycling has been a UCI registered team – Continental or Pro Continental depending on which year you look at.
“The team itself has raced extensively throughout the Oceania, Asia, Europe and the Americas calendars and have a very good background.
“Another aspect I find very promising is that the team looks to develop its riders as well rounded people, not just athletes.
“For instance they support and encourage their athletes to pursue other endeavors like careers and education outside of cycling.”
It’s a strong squad with guys like Cantwell coming in from World Tour…
“The roster looks exceptional for next year.
“Every guy on this team is a great bike rider.
“Will Walker, Johnny Cantwell, Wes Sulzberger and Travis Meyer are all coming to Drapac from World Tour teams – that’s going to add a whole lot of depth, experience and talent to the squad.”
Why go Pro Continental?
“With the current state of cycling and so many teams folding it’s promising to see Drapac as the only team to step up from Continental to Pro-Continental status this season.
“It shows they’re in it for the long haul.
“It’s a natural development for the team with clear goals of expanding in the near future – one of the major ones being a Grand Tour start within a few years.”
What does the programme look like?
“The programme looks really solid, particularly at the start of the year with the Tour Down Under, Oman, Qatar and Langkawi.
“The team will race extensively throughout Asia, Oceania and the US next year with lots of 2.HC, 2.1 and 2.2 races.”
Swift carbon frames – have you got your bike yet and what group sets do they have?
“We haven’t got our bikes yet.
“However, I’ve seen some photos and they look great.
“We’ll be picking them up in December – and we’re using SRAM group sets.”
Will it still be the familiar Drapac red?
“As far as I’m aware yes!
“Red goes fast…. right?”
With the Tour Down Under not too far away, have you started training yet?
“Things are getting underway.
“We have a lot of good racing in the first three months of the year so it’s important to be in good shape.”
Do you have a coach – scientific or ‘old school’?
“I had a chat with my coach Ian Melvin about this today, and we’re going to go with ‘Scientific with an old school twist.'”
The team is in the MPCC, have the implications of that been discussed with you?
“Not as of yet, these are some of the things that will be covered at our induction camp in December.
“I think it’s a great thing for the team to be a part of.”
What do you want from 2014?
“I want to race my bike and enjoy the lifestyle.
“And I want to help the team achieve what it sets out to do.”
Is retaining that U23 road title a big objective?
“I would really love to keep the jersey.
“To date that is still the proudest moment of my life.
“I’ll do everything I can to keep it but there’s some seriously good u23 talent out there to compete with.”
Result - Cycling Australia U23 Road National Time Trial Championships 2014
2 Harry Carpenter (SA) 0:00:14
3 Miles Scotson (SA) 0:00:19
4 Campbell Flakemore (TAS) 0:01:05
5 Samuel Spokes (NSW) 0:01:19
6 Jack Haig (VIC) 0:01:28
7 Shaun O’Callaghan (VIC) 0:01:38
8 Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT) 0:01:52
9 Jack Beckinsale (NSW) 0:02:00
10 Oscar Stevenson (VIC) 0:02:03
11 David Edwards (QLD) 0:02:09
12 Alex Wohler (QLD) 0:02:15
13 Lachlan Glasspool (SA) 0:02:36
14 Alexander Morgan (VIC) 0:02:38
15 Robert Power (WA) 0:02:39
16 Jay Dutton (NSW) 0:02:45
17 Thomas Hamilton (VIC) 0:02:48
18 Tom Kaesler (SA) 0:02:50
19 Brendon Meney (WA) 0:03:00
20 Kristian Juel (QLD) 0:03:03
21 Mitchell Cooper (VIC) 0:03:04
22 Robert-Jon Mccarthy (SA) 0:03:08
23 Trent Derecourt (WA) 0:03:10
24 Jacob Restall (QLD) 0:03:11
25 Fergus Sully (VIC) 0:03:12
26 Jordan Payne (NSW) 0:03:13
27 Edward Bissaker (SA) 0:03:22
28 Nicholas Graham-Dawson (WA) 0:03:27
29 Alex Grunke (QLD) 0:03:41
30 Nicholas Horsley (TAS)
31 Sam Fuhrmeister (VIC) 0:03:46
32 Michael Hale (VIC) 0:03:48
33 Nicholas Bien (VIC) 0:03:49
34 Ryan Thomas (NSW) 0:03:59
35 Scott Thompson (NSW) 0:04:04
36 Nathan Bradshaw (NSW) 0:04:05
37 Luke Vitler (WA) 0:04:10
38 Alistair Crameri (VIC) 0:04:45
39 Laurent Groom (NSW) 0:05:06
40 Chris Harper (SA) 0:05:11
41 Karl Michelin-Beard (NSW) 0:05:36
42 Nathan Booth (ACT) 0:06:30
43 Lachlan Edwards (NSW) 0:06:31
44 Jordan Davies (NSW) 0:06:46
45 Angus Hayes (ACT) 0:08:30
46 Aden Reynolds (NSW)
DNS Alexander Clements (TAS)
DNS Tyler Spurrell (VIC)
DNS Dimitry Makeev (VIC)
DNS Robert Oakenfull (VIC)
DNS Sean Whitfield (ACT)
DNS Luke Williams (NSW)
DNS Tom Chapman (SA)