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Back 8.21.2014

Drapac’s Vogels Brings Experience to Team’s U.S. Push

Before the start of Thursday’s 70 mile Stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge in

Colorado Springs, Drapac Pro Cycling Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels reminisced a bit about his first time racing in the United States. It was 1991 and Vogels, part of the Australian National Team, finished seventh in the Junior World Road Championships in Colorado Springs. Thursday’s course would cover some of the same roads through the Garden of the Gods.Vogels would go on to turn pro at the age of 21 and have a stellar career that included competing in two Tours de France, finishing on the podium at Gent-Wevelgem and in the top 10 at Paris-Roubaix. He also was a consistent winner on the U.S. circuit.

Now, he’s guiding the Australian-based Drapac team. On Thursday, Drapac showed its potential, placing Adam Phelan in the day’s main breakaway and having sprinter Jonathan Cantwell finish eighth in the final sprint. Before the day got too busy, though, Vogels was nice enough to talk with us about the team and its plans to race more in the United States:

Drapac Pro Cycling made its U.S. racing debut this season competing in major races including the Philly Cycling Classic, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Challenge. How has the experience been and what does it mean for the team’s development?
It’s very important for us. We have change into a (UCI) Pro Continental Team. For us, it’s very important to move into the U.S. racing scene. I know it’s been huge for me in the past, and I know all the ins and outs of all the stage races. It’s hugely important for our sponsors because the sponsor is actually investing quite heavily in the U.S…. It’s important for us to do well here, and we see a long-term future in the U.S.

What have you told the guys about racing in the U.S., how maybe it’s different from racing in Australia or Europe?
The races that we’re going to be doing in the states are all going to be very different. There’s actually quite a bit of climbing races in the U.S. with (Silver City Tour of the Gila Powered by SRAM), Utah and Colorado and even California to a certain extent is a lot of climbing obviously there’s a lot of sprint stages there, too…. My experience in the past with the U.S. racing circuit has been a huge criterium circuit…. A lot of climbing and a lot of sprint stages. Hopefully for us that is a successful part of our racing.

What does the team hope to take away from the USA Pro Challenge specifically?
We’ve got a fairly youngish team and we hope to just be super-aggressive. We’re not Tejay van Garderen-level so, for us, we just hope to be animating the race and be up the road every day. For us, it’s all about going to that next level.

On a course like this, there is lots of descending and climbing. What goes into wheel choice with all of the different rim depths of Zipp wheels available?
All of the guys pretty much change wheels every day. Today they’ll put the 202s on for climbing and (Jonathan) Cantell loves the 404s and 808s…. They absolutely love the Zipp wheels and the SRAM, the new RED 22.

The RED 22 has a good gear range for races like this.
Yeah, we’re running 11-32 (cassettes) for Colorado…. A lot of the guys try to save their legs with the 32 (tooth).

More about Drapac Pro Cycling

Frame: Swift Carbon

Componentry: SRAM RED 22

Wheels: Zipp

Bars, stems, seatposts: Zipp

Power: Quarq RED 22 Power Meter

Web: drapaccycling.com/

Twitter: @DrapacCycling

Photo by Darrell Parks