While the cycling community forces its attention on Australia for the World Championships, there is something else to note. An Australian third division team, Fly V is making a serious push to join the top ProTour division and has already assembled twenty cyclists.
"I think with the globalisation of cycling there is a really strong case for the ProTour team to be out of the south pacific," Team Manager Chris White said, "out of a nation who is proud of its cycling."
Team so far:
Robert Hunter (from Garmin-Transitions)
Daryl Impey (RadioShack)
Sergey Klimov (Katusha)
Christian Knees (Milram)
Trent Lowe (from Garmin-Transitions)
Robbie McEwen (Katusha)
Luke Roberts (Milram)
Thomas Rohregger (Milram)
Svein Tuft (Garmin-Transitions)
White has to submit at least 10 of the team's contracts to the UCI auditors by Friday, October 1, 15 contacts by October 20 and 23 contracts by December 1.
Austrian Thomas Rohregger is the latest to sign. He leaves German ProTour team Milram at the end of this season and joins other eight other ProTour riders making the jump: McEwen, Hunter, Impey, Klimov, Knees, Lowe, Roberts and Tuft.
The cyclists are now in place to represent Fly V in sprints and classics, though White still needs a cyclist for Grand Tours to convince the UCI ProTour Council (UPTC) of his bid. Perhaps White will use part of his estimated €10 million annual budget to sign that Grand Tour rider this week while the eyes are on Australia.
The UPTC must select from 14 teams applying for eight available ProTour licences. It will make its preliminary decision on November 20.
Applying for licence:
Bbox Bouygues Telecom (France)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Fly V/Pegasus Sports (Australia)
Luxembourg Cycling Project (Luxembourg)
Applying to renew licence:
Ex-Team Milram/Velocity (Germany)
Française des Jeux (France)
Telefonica Movistar (Spain)
White explained that if his team fails to get a ProTour licence, he will continue with his plans to base his team in Belgium and race as a second division team. This year, the team mostly raced in the USA and Australia.
Belgian Hendrik Redant may leave his post as sports director for team Omega Pharma and join Fly V. However, the team may not let him out of his contract a year early, especially since it has already lost Roberto Damiani to Lampre.
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