Professional cycling's top teams may have every reason to jealously guard their best athletes so they can continue to produce the victories, points, and prestige that keep their standing high and their sponsors satisfied. Still, many teams for which losing their best athletes are the biggest win. Developmental group, One such team is ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast. Three of its racers have already left the Australian domestic circuit in the 2022 season to pursue opportunities to compete professionally in Europe.
Three still needed more for the University of Sunshine Coast-based team to rest on its laurels - not when there will still be talented riders without a 2023 contract. It's an admirable total, especially given that only a handful of national riders typically break through to the top ranks each year. After the COVID-19 outbreak closed Australia's borders and halted much of the top-level racing in the area, this month's Tour de Langkawi evolved into an all-out push to find new opportunities for individuals so short of them in crucial developmental years.
Six WorldTour teams and several UCI ProTeam teams, including Alpecin Deceuninck and Uno X Pro Cycling, lined up for the eight-day Malaysian tour, raising the level of competition at the Tour de Langkawi to a previously unheard-of level. However, as the level of competition increased, so did the brightness of the spotlight. In front of the sports directors from some of the top teams in the world, the riders from the lone Australian squad in the race this year had the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to compete with some of the best in the world.
Cameron Scott, who now leads the National Road Series in Australia, has firsthand knowledge of how crucial foreign exposure can be for a cyclist looking to advance in their career. The 24-year-old has signed a deal with Bahrain Victorious for the years 2023 and 2024, but it wasn't initially because of his years of consistently winning performances at home.