A number of decision affecting the future of Australian road cycling were taken at a meeting of representatives from the Australian Cycling Federation and Australian Institute of Sport in Sydney today. The meeting agreed there was merit in supporting a proposal to link a number of elite Australian riders with the US-based Saturn Trade Team for the 1998 season. The ACF/AIS will use their best endeavours to put this arrangement in place in negotiations with Saturn early next week.
The meeting endorsed the expansion of the under-23 development program based in Italy under coach Shane Bannan to provide European racing opportunities for talented riders. As of 1998 this program will provide additional opportunities for a number of under-26 riders. Selection of riders involved in this program will be the responsibility of the Australian Cycling Federation. The meeting agreed that current AIS road program assistant coach, Brian Stephens, would be offered the opportunity to work with Mr Bannan in this program. The meeting felt there was value in Australia having an independently funded Trade Team operating from 1999 and has given Heiko Salzwedel the task of pursuing this venture in the interim with the program's sponsors, including Giant Bicycles.
"The Australian Cycling Federation maintains its commitment to a fully funded independent Trade Team and will be working towards the establishment of such a team for 1999," said Ray Godkin, president of the Australian Cycling Federation.
"In the meantime, we will use our best endeavours to ensure our elite riders are supported in 1998." "The outcome of today's meeting is very positive for Australian cycling," Mr Godkin added. "We are looking to continue to support our elite riders in a Trade Team partnership whil expanding the under-23 program, which is the longer-term future of our sport at the international level."
1 VAN DER POEL, Adrie NED 1,593 2 GROENENDAAL, Richard NED 1,417 3 DE CLERCQ, Mario BEL 806 4 PONTONI, Daniele ITA 790 5 BRAMATI, Luca ITA 692 6 WABEL, Beat SWI 657 7 FRISCHKNECHT, Thomas SWI 636 8 JANSSENS, Marc BEL 625 9 RUNKEL, Dieter SWI 567 10 HERIJGERS, Paul BEL 549