Young cyclists are being given the opportunity to showcase their skills on an international stage, by competing in the 2012 Tour Down Under on Team UniSA.
The team, which was announced this week, will once again serve as a platform for budding young cyclists wanting to prove they are ready for the big stage.
Since their inception, team UniSA have also aimed to provide a safety net for those cyclists whose careers are uncertain while potentially assisting them in gaining a contract with a team, whether it is UCI ProTour team or a professional continental team.
Cyclist, Luke Roberts who rode for the team in 2011, was unsure of where his career was headed, after being left stranded following the demise of the now defunct team, Pegasus.
But a series of good results at the Tour including placing 10th overall and winning the Skoda King of the Mountain jersey helped Roberts find a new home with Saxo Bank-SunGard.
On the other end of the spectrum, Team UniSA has helped establish some of Australia’s best international cyclists who have gone on to some remarkable feats.
Jack Bobridge (GreenEdge) and Tim Roe (BMC Racing) just to name a few have all ridden for Team UniSA, offering them the perfect exposure to the demands and pressures of International class cycling.
Not to mention the obvious facility of enlighten the cycling world of their yet unearthed talent in a very competitive environment.
These cyclists in particular have really taken the opportunity that UniSA has offered them and have started to make a name on their own.
Bobridge, for example from riding with Team UniSA in 2009 has gone on to achieve a remarkable result of in 2011 he was the national Road Race Champion, which at the age of 21 at the time indicated to the cycling community to expect big things from the Adelaide born cyclist.
Although he was unable to defend this title at the National championships he is still tipped to be a big name cyclist for Australian team GreenEdge in the future.
Even more unfortunate for the young Adelaide-born prodigy is he will be unable to compete in this year’s Tour because of an injury he sustained from a crash in the opening kilometre of the National Championship Time Trial.
Another Adelaide born professional cyclist was able to enter into the cycling world through a large number of good results epitomised by his outstanding Tour Down Under ride.
Roe was very fortunate from his time riding with Team UniSA in 2010, which saw the 22-year-old being offered a contract with Lance Armstrong’s development team, Trek-Livestrong.
Trek-Livestrong is an under-23 development squad that aims to develop the cyclists to a competitive level and potential give them a gateway into their associate team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.
In the development squad he was fortunate enough to learn from some of the world’s most respected cyclists including Axel Merckx, son of cycling great, Eddy Merckx.
From his time in this illustrious development squad he was fortunate enough to get a spot with big name team BMC racing, who feature the likes of Cadel Evans, Alessandro Ballan and Thor Hushovd.
2012 is one again offering a very young list of riders for Team UniSA hopefully like others before them, they will be able to establish themselves in the professional cycling world.
Team UniSA riders: Rohan Dennis (SA), Steele von Hoff (VIC), Lachlan Norris (WA), Jay McCarthy (QLD), Tom Palmer (NSW), Will Clarke (TAS), Bernard Sulzberger (TAS)