Drapac Professional Cycling, now confirmed as Professional Continental for 2014, will be guided by some of the best in the business as the team enters its new era.
Agostino Giramondo joins Henk Vogels as Directeur Sportif; Keith Flory comes on board as Director of Performance while Frank Kwanten will work as a Commercial Consultant.
Giramondo, part of the Drapac family for eight years, has worked across varying roles in the team in the past from coach, to mechanic, and manager. Now he will also add to his role with logistics for the coming season but it’s this depth of knowledge that puts him in the best stead to know how the team runs from start to finish.
“I have the knowledge that helps the team get to and from events as easily as possible without hindering the riders performance, by making sure riders are not catching flights at 5am in the morning and being up all day then expecting them to perform at elite level,” Giramondo said.
Excited for the year ahead, Giramondo is expecting the team to deliver some great results.
“The team has been solid throughout with numerous wins within Australia and abroad throughout the longevity of its existence,” he explained. “It will certainly be an exciting year ahead as well as a lot of work. I’m really looking forward to some strong performances from the riders.”
Flory has most-recently been the Training and Education Manager for the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. His task primarily is to ensure that Drapac athletes are performing at their best as a team as well as individually.
“When I heard that the team was going to maintain its ethos of developing athletes as individuals both on and off the bike, it was the strongest selling point,” he said. “Straight away I knew that Drapac was looking at cycling from a different angle to the 'traditional' approach of teams and not only did this ethos meet my own convictions, I also saw a team that would be willing to be daring and challenge the norm across all aspects of the team.”
The move from Continental to Professional Continental status brings its own set of challenges however, Flory is confident that Drapac has the team to overcome any hurdles.
“The move up to ProConti requires us to implement a new set of performance systems that the team may not have necessarily needed previously,” he explained. “We have a highly-talented and ambitious group of riders so the team has to be implementing cutting edge solutions to create an environment where they can maximise their talent. Obviously these systems and solutions take time and lots of hard work, but again I believe we have the team to be able to make these a reality.”
Kwanten’s task will be to ensure Drapac’s commercial interests remain on track, engaging with the team’s current and future partners. It was Drapac’s long-held pillar of turning champion athletes into champion people that attracted him to the role.
“Drapac understands being competitive is condition number one but its philosophy surrounding redefining success and developing well-rounded citizens has already been alive and kicking for many years,” he explained. “This philosophy can not only help our athletes but the whole sport forward and I am convinced that this team will contribute to a new more sustainable approach of the sport.”
With this in mind, Kwanten is confident that Drapac will prove an attractive model for prospective partners.
“I think that we have an advantage in the search of partners in the way that Drapac has a big opportunity for a compelling narrative and that we already have a history where pro cycling seeks its growth. As long as we tell the story, walk the talk and have a professional approach I think the growth ambitions are very realistic.”
Giramondo, Flory and Kwanten round out the management structure headed by Team Manager Jonathan Breekveldt. The appointments of Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels and Chief Communications Officer Jane Aubrey have previously been announced.