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by Shane Stokes
December 3, 2014
Following a long nine year period with the Rabobank/Belkin Pro Cycling teams, Graeme Brown has concluded a deal which will see him being primarily based in Australia during the 2015 season.
The 35 year old Australian rider has inked a deal with Drapac Professional Cycling and will be one of the key riders on the Pro Continental squad next year.
“After 13 years of racing in Europe I’m really excited to start a new chapter of my life with a new team,” he said. “Coming back and racing in Australia for an Australian team is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and this opportunity has come up at the perfect time.”
“As far as my role in the team goes I am really motivated to get really good a sprint train on track, and to help share the experience that I’ve picked up with these young riders.”
Brown has mainly worked as a leadout rider in recent years, helping sprinters on the team such as Theo Bos, but he has a very fast turn of speed himself and has used that to clock up nine stage wins in the Tour de Langkawi, three in the Santos Tour Down Under plus stages in the Vuelta a Murcia, Deutschland Tour, the Tour of California, the Tour de Pologne and the Tour of Austria.
He has also registered single day success in Nokere-Koerse and took Olympic Gold medals in 2004 in the team pursuit and the madison.
His background is something that team manager Jonathan Breekveldt knows will represent a substantial addition to the team’s firepower and future chances.
“Graeme brings a wealth of experience to the team, “ he said. “[That] will be invaluable as we strive to build a squad that is focused on specific targets throughout the year where we believe we have the potential to mix it with the very best in the world.
“The team took seventeen wins this year, eight of which were taken by Wouter [Wippert] in sprints. We feel that by bringing in Graeme, and by improving the quality of our program we will be able to achieve a great deal more in 2015.”
He will make his debut in next month’s Australian national championships. He has been pencilled in for a supporting role there, but will likely have his own chances later in the season. He is joined on the team by another new addition, namely Cameron Peterson.
According to Brown, team sponsor Michael Drapac’s broader focus is something which also appeals to him.
“I’ve also been impressed by Michael’s philosophy of helping riders beyond their racing careers, with things like the transition programme which looks at helping riders outside of their racing,” he said.
At 35 years of age he knows that the end of his career is looming and that he will switch to a role outside competition in the next few years.
“This [transition programme] is something that is unique to the team. I think is very important for a lot of riders to have access to.”