[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″]

In what is a brief European racing campaign for James Whelan, the 21-year-old has won the under-23 edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.93″]

There’s a lot going on for Australian cycling right now and, overnight, another huge result was achieved. James Whelan was first in the under-23 Tour of Flanders, with team-mates Robert Stannard third and Cyrus Monk 10th.

RIDE received news of the win from an excited Michael Drapac who is a co-title sponsor of the Drapac-EF Holistic Development team which is working with Cycling Australia and putting his riders on ‘loan’ to what’s known in 2018 as the Australian Cycling Team.

Whelan and Monk are both part of the Drapac-EF Holistic development team but they wore national colours in the Tour of Flanders.

We have spoken to both Monk and Whelan about the win (see our interview) but in summary: this sort of thing doesn’t happen often. Of the 74 editions of this race for young riders, Belgians have won all but 11 of the titles.

The elite Australian national road race champion, Alexander Edmondson, is the first Aussie to claim the win in Flanders (in 2015) and now Whelan has matched that effort in fine style.


Here is the top-10 thanks to ProCyclingStats.com.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″ src=”https://www.ridemedia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Results.jpg” show_bottom_space=”on” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.93″ background_layout=”light”]

An impressive result for Australian cycling…

James Whelan (below): photo by Cyrus Monk.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.93″ background_layout=”light”]

Drapac is proud to be involved with these riders and he believes that the result is just one step in what is shaping up as a fantastic career for Whelan, Stannard and Monk.

“I believe that young rides would do better and have greater longevity if they stayed and developed in Australia, in their usual environment until around 21 years of age with community, social and family support infrastructure,” said Drapac today.

“What we do know is that we have no evidence at all that the current model of developing Australian talent works. We’re only guessing that it creates better bike riders. Is taking them out of the support systems and getting them to race in Europe when they’re very young helpful?

“What we do know for certain is that the best under-23 riders in Australia have both stayed at home and got an education. And we now have a sample to show that this approach works.”


Interview with Cyrus Monk and James Whelan – 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image _builder_version=”3.0.93″ src=”https://www.ridemedia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Whelan-vMHGTaSi.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]