Team Cyclingnews.com/Down Under - 2004
History of Team cyclingnews.com (Team Down Under)
The two driving forces behind the Cyclingnews.com team are Rudi Dubois and Gilbert De Weerdt. Although he never raced himself, Rudi Dubois has always had a passion for cycling, and was P.R. officer for the Belgian Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team for several years. Gilbert De Weerdt was an active cyclist for several years, but stopped because of university studies where he obtained degrees in physiotherapy and professional training. De Weerdt has also been the trainer for several local teams in Belgium.
Rudi and Gilbert met each other in 2000, and decided to start their own business called D&D Promotion. That year, an Australian rider came to Gilbert for some physiotherapy. The two started talking about cycling in Australia and how a lot of riders came to Europe to race. Thus, the idea of an Australian team was born.
D&D Promotion started to look for sponsors and found the transport company Frans Hendrickx. The sponsorship meant that clothing and equipment and cars were bought, a team house was rented and more. In February 2001, ten Australians and two English riders came to Belgium to ride for the amateur team, "Team Down Under". This name was chosen to capitalise on the fact that Australia was now an exciting thing in Europe.
The team had a lot of success and won numerous races, and the riders became well known in the Belgian peloton. One of the team members was Matt Wilson, who transferred to La Francaise des Jeux in 2002 and has since gone onto bigger things, winning the Australian road championship in 2004.
Buoyed by its success, the team continued in 2002. Again, some ten Australian riders came over and they were joined by one English and one Belgian rider. Again, the team had a lot of success and more victories. Riders like Glenn Chadwick, Mark Roland, Paul Redenbach and Ben Brooks were members of the team that year.
In 2003, Rudi and Gilbert decided to take the team one step higher. They knew that the riders they had possessed the qualities to race with the professionals. However, the team's budget wasn't great enough to be a big professional team, therefore Rudi and Gilbert decided to form a new Division III team. Because the team was Australian, it managed to get starts in a number of the bigger professional races, and typically was the only Division III team among all the professional teams.
The riders proved that they were good enough for the professional level, and the team has already had confirmation for more professional races in 2004. The team will have a new name: Cyclingnews.com, reflecting its new sponsor. In future, the team hopes to take another step up to Division II.