The 104th edition of the Tour de France is a historical one for Australia, boasting two teams with strong ties to Australian businessmen. Michael Drapac, a long time supporter of Australian cycling, joined the WorldTour ranks 13 months ago when Drapac Capital joined forces with Slipstream Sports.
Two Australian cycling names could join the ranks of winners at the Tour de France this year. One is Michael Matthews, now favourite for the prestigious green jersey for the race’s top sprinter.
The other name is more unusual: property investor Michael Drapac.
As co-owner of the Cannondale-Drapac professional cycling team, Drapac is on the the verge of a rare achievement for an Australian business identity in having his name on the podium when the gruelling three-week Tour finishes in Paris on Sunday night.
Ahead of the 18th stage on Thursday night Australian time, Cannondale-Drapac’s Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran was second only to race favourite Chris Froome of Team Sky.
Drapac, who has made a fortune from betting on a recovery in the US housing market, has delighted in watching his team – which has one of the smallest budgets on the global tour – surge to the front of the most famous race in the world and surpassing most expectations.
“I’m in Paris waiting for the finish now, but I’ve watched every stage microscopically and it has been an amazing Tour for us,” Drapac told The Australian Financial Review.