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Q&A with Will Clarke before the Tour Down Under

Will Clarke is gearing up for another Tour Down Under with Drapac. (David Hill Photography / The Roar)
Roar Guru
18th January, 2015
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Will Clarke, a professional cyclist for Drapac Professional Cycling, has raced in diverse places like Azerbaïdjan, Japan and Iran with a bag of firsts, seconds and thirds. This summer he’ll be competing in the Tour Down Under.

We caught up with Will just before he gears towards final preparations for the big race.

Congratulations on your efforts during the National Road Championship – KOM and sprint points jerseys were pretty special against a quality field. You and the Drapac team nearly got away with a big win with Sam Spoke finishing fifth. Was it the plan to send you up the road?

The plan was to have numbers in the breaks and we did that with four in the first break of around 20 (riders). Unfortunately the dynamic of the break wasn’t that great and it was coming back.

I went alone to try and take some pressure of my teammates and in the final break we had five, so myself, Robbie (Hucker) and Jordan (Kerby) rode for Sam (Spokes) and ‘Lappers’ (Darren Lapthorne). They both rode really well and Sam nearly pulled off the win. We had a bit of a crack anyway!

How are you feeling for the TDU? Is Drapac confident in lighting up the race? Do you have any personal goals for the race?

I’m feeling good now, it took me a few days to recover after Nationals. I think we can surprise a few people this week, we have a really motivated team for the race. Personally I’d like a stage win.

This is your second year with Drapac Proffessional Cycling, and the team was very successful in the Asian tour. Is Drapac aiming to race more in Europe or particularly the US where Michael Drapac has business interests?

The team will race a bit more in America this year with also the possibility of a few races in Europe which will be exciting.

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There have been some big signings with Martin Kohler, Graeme Brown, Sam Spoke and Tim Roe. This must change the dynamic of the team? Does is add some speed and climbing?

It has definitely made the team stronger, Brownie (Graeme Brown) is really experienced in the sprints and Sam is a really exciting all-rounder. I’m looking forward to racing with them all.

It has been a wonderful investment by Michael Drapac to Drapac Professional Cycling and its previous incarnations, do you think Australia relies on too few generous people with deep pockets (Gerry Ryan, Michael Drapac) to fund cycling? Do you see any other sponsorship coming forward in Australia?

We are really lucky to have a guy like Michael sponsor our team. Cycling is a really expensive sport once you get to the professional level. It would be nice to see some more top level sponsorship to grow the sport, I think it will happen in time. It would be nice to have a few more UCI races in Australia too.

Looking forward to 2015, do you have a reasonable idea on your race plan?

At the moment I’m doing the Herald Sun Tour and Oceania Champs so I have a nice start to the year.

Follow Will @clarkeywilbur and Drapac on @DrapacCycling