On the verge of taking on the giants of cycling, property mogul and team owner Michael Drapac has set out to prove human investment provides the greatest return

Words: Matthew Keenan

In the 12 years the Drapac cycling team has been challenging the norm in Aussie cycling, all of these phrases have been used to describe Michael Drapac: Trouble maker. Advocate for change. Hard to please. Loyal. And all of them are true, depending on who you talk to. As for which of those descriptions is most apt? That would be vigorously debated among those who have had direct dealings with him.

I wanted a more sustainable model of developing young elite riders into well-rounded citizens

What can’t be argued, though, is his commitment. After all, funding a cycling team is an expensive hobby. Drapac, through his property and investment business the Drapac Group, has spent in the vicinity of $10 million on a team that started with a desire to help three young riders pursue their cycling dreams while continuing their education.

‘I started in 2001-2002 by supporting a mini-team of Daniel Thorsen, Mitch Docker and Bradley Norton,’ Drapac says. ‘At that time, unlike today, the cycling programs at the various institutes of sport commoditised athletes and only measured success by performance. These institutes tended to select only full-time junior riders. But these teenage boys wanted to pursue their studies concurrently with their cycling ambitions. And I wanted to expand the measure of success for these young guys by creating a more sustainable model of developing young elite riders into well-rounded citizens.

The full version of this article is available in Cyclist issue 05. Keep up to date and meet up and coming leaders of the cycling world at: magshop.com.au/Cyclist or via iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/cyclist-australia/id602436026?mt=8.