The highly successful Drapac Professional Cycling Team will begin their 2013 Asian campaign on Monday, the 18th of March, when the team lines up for the UCI 2.1 Tour de Taiwan, a seven day stage race which is part of the UCI AsiaTour.
The team goes into the race with a strong line-up but without the defending champion on the roster, Rhys Pollock, who won the 2012 edition by a slim two seconds from Hong Kong’s veteran rider (now retired), Kam Po Wong.
Dirk Muller of Nutrixxion was third, just six seconds down on Pollock, with the top ten separated by just 40 seconds, highlighting just how close this race can be.
The full Drapac Professional Cycling Team (Skoda) line-up for the race is:
Floris Goesinnen (NED), Bernard Sulzberger (AUS), Malcolm Rudolph (AUS), Thomas Palmer (AUS) and Robbie Hucker (AUS).
Speaking of Pollock being out of the line-up, team manager Jonathan Breekveldt said, “Although we would have liked to include Rhys in the selection for 2013 as the defending champion this was not possible due to his increased focus on his professional career.
“As a result Rhys will only race within Australia for 2013, but the development of our riders’ future pathways and long-term career is critical to our unique philosophy.”
The route is very much a racer’s course, with the longest stage being 156km and a few tough little climbs, which encourages hard and fast racing with plenty of action.
The participants this year will head on a reverse route to last year’s race, from the southern city of Kaoshiung up to the north along the west coast, finishing with a 58km city criterium in the nation’s capital, Taipei.
The route is in fact practically a carbon copy in reverse of last year’s race, something which Drapac believe will help them in their quest to retain the overall title.
“Knowing the stages in detail has enabled us to select a team perfectly suited to the race and one which can be competitive in all situations,” said Breekveldt.
“We have a wealth of experience between Floris and Bernard and will look to them to lead the team.”
Thomas Palmer will be sending us updates on the team’s progress for the duration of the race, so stay tuned for some great rider insight from the heart of the peloton.
Another participant taking part again in this year’s race is The Roar’s cycling editor, Lee Rodgers, who will be lining up for the CCN Cycling Team.
Lee won the points classification’s green jersey in 2012 and is looking to come away with another jersey this year also.
“Hopefully yellow,” he said. “But don’t tell Drapac about that!”