With so much Aussie success of late, surely it must only be a matter of time before Fly V Australia crack the ProTour, writes Anthony Tan.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

In my interview with Fly V Australia's Ben Day posted this week, you may recall
him saying "our next step is to go to Europe".

"We have these
ProTour aspirations. Logically, we need to step up to that next level
and prove on an international stage that we're a massively strong team,
and we're cohesive and we've got some incredibly talented riders."


Yes, I know, I know, we've heard it all before and still, it hasn't
happened, leaving all of us increasingly frustrated to the point of
being cynical when someone says it is going to happen.

The more
my colleague Mike Tomalaris and I muse the topic of Fly V Australia's
ability to crack the ProTour, however, the more convinced we're becoming
that this team owned by Chris White and sports-directed by Henk Vogels
is 'the one' that will do it.

They're not trying to do it in one
big hit – in Australia at least, that leaves me feeling dubious, and to
date, such statements have turned out to be apocryphal – but rather
step-by-step.

"You've got to do it properly – you'll detonate if
you try and do it any way differently," Vogels told me at the conclusion
of last year's Herald Sun Tour, where sprinter Jonathan Cantwell had
taken two stage wins that week. He'd notched another 21 last season.

"We've
gone from a very small team [in 2008] to a successful Conti[nental]
team this year [2009] and we'd like to be even more successful next
year. Pro Conti in 2011 and ProTour in 2012… That's our vision. That's
where we want to go."

In a very similar vein, Jonathan Vaughters'
ProTour team Garmin-Transitions began from humble beginnings as
ostensibly an under-23 development outfit called TIAA-CREF,
progressively generating interest, credibility, and before too long, big
sponsors that allowed them to afford some of the world's top riders and
a ProTour licence.

Just look at them now.

"Chris White is
a great businessman and has a passion for cycling, and is creating a
business that has legs to stand on – it isn't just a passion," says Day.

"Everything
he's doing is cool and calculated. Passion does drive him as well, but
everything he's doing with the structure of the team is done for a
reason. And we have a great sponsor in V Australia, and we really hope
they come with us for the whole of the journey."

I then asked Day
why he thinks what happened with Team Sky hasn't happened in Oz as yet.

"I
think the British guys are a lot closer to the action over there and
they appreciate what's going on. But I really feel this passion start to
build in Australia, and now's the time.

"I talk to my mates back
home watching the Tour de France coverage on SBS, and they're
saying, 'Oh, the third week of the Tour and I'm so tired, I feel like
I'm doing the Tour myself!'

"People are really getting involved
with [professional cycling]; people are learning to love it with a
passion. And I think now's the time I think we really need to capitalise
on that. We have such great, talented riders in Australia right now and
it's a shame we can't all ride together."

So, is White and
Vogels' ambition of riding ProTour-level events in 2011 and the Tour de
France in 2012 still on track?

"I think there's a good chance it
will happen next year," says Day.

"The talk is for us to become
Pro Continental next year. And hopefully we can get that commitment to
get some of the wildcards for the big races.

"The Tour de France
would be a big, big leap for next year, but 2012, that's what we're
talking about and we all have that focus in mind. We all want to be in
Europe, and be on that world stage of cycling.

"I think you're
going to see us in some of the ProTour races next year, without a
doubt."

So far, I'm enjoying their ride. Here's hoping they
emulate what Vaughters achieved, turning a once grandiose plan into
reality.