Australian Pro Tour team wants to compete at 2009 Tour de France

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12.12.2007 / By lack of a domestique Pro-Tour team, Australia's world class riders end up riding for European teams. But times are changing. Pro Cycling Australia Pty Ltd (PCA) has been launched to put Australia’s first national professional cycling team in the Pro-Tour series from 2009 onwards. Cyclingheroes spoke with the CEO of Pro Cycling Australia Pty Ltd. , Dr Paul Varcoe.

Dr. Paul Varcoe is confident his team will start at the 2009 Tour de France

Cyclingheroes: Who had the idea to found an Australian team which will be competative at the 2009 Tour de France?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: The original idea came as a result of discussions between Robbie McEwen and Tony Smith [the founder of the Roamfree Group] at a BBQ on the Gold Coast in January 2006.

Cyclingheroes: Tour organizer ASO said they are no longer part of the UCI Pro-Tour. Are there negotiations to make sure your team will get an invitation for the 2009 edition of the Tour de France?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: Too early to negotiate but I am confident with the riders we will have the ASO will want the team to compete in the 2009 TDF.

Cyclingheroes: Can you tell us something about the financial structure of the team?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: Not until it has been fully funded.

Cyclingheroes: We know that you are not allowed to announce any signings until September 2008. Still, can you tell us if there are prominent Australian riders who will sign with the team?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: All Australian riders have been contacted either directly or through their managers and all have expressed a desire to be part of the team.

Cyclingheroes: Shayne Bannan has been appointed team manager for the team. Can you introduce him to our readers?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: Shayne is the current Australian Head Cycling Coach and has held that position for many years. He has taken Australian teams to several Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships. There is no better person to have involved with the team.

Cyclingheroes: Pro cycling had another difficult year in Europe. Did that make it more difficult to found a new Australian team?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: The problems in Europe have made sponsors wary but we are now seeing a new confidence that the sport has had the clean up it had to have. All stakeholders are moving in the same very coordinated aggressive anti-doping direction.

Cyclingheroes: Team High Road signed with the ACE anti-doping programme, what will your team do in the fight against doping?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: I can assure you we will be best practice.

Cyclingheroes: Is there a big difference between pro-cycling in Australia and Europe?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: Yes - on all levels!

Cyclingheroes: Did the successes of Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans and others help Australian cycling to grow?

Dr. Paul Varcoe: Of course – cycling has a momentum now that has not been seen before.

Mister Varcoe we wish you all the best with building up the team and hope to meet the team at the 2009 Tour de France.

More information:

Dr. Paul Varcoe has been appointed CEO of Pro Cycling Australia Pty Ltd. Dr Varcoe, a graduate of the world leading MBA school IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, brings together a rare combination of business acumen and knowledge of cycling.

He has established a range of different businesses including training organisations, import-export businesses and health service clinics. He has climbed Mt Kilamanjaro and ridden stages of the Tour de France.

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