XSpeed United is an exciting new cycling team built on international cooperation, with a focus on developing young riders from Australia, Hong Kong and Canada via the Asian racing scene.
It was formed by the roadside of the Tour of Poyang Lake in late September 2018, and is a legacy from an international junior track cycling event for Asian and Australian riders. Event organisers Murray Hall and Amanda O’Connor were approached by Hong Kong’s Andrew Szeto with the idea of establishing a sister club in Western Australia to facilitate an international student and rider exchange program.
The West Australian duo jumped at the concept and the idea developed into a unique cycling club with a new and innovative model.
Within a year X-Speed Australia Cycle Club had formed and was searching for the next opportunity to develop its up and coming young riders.
A casual conversation between O’Connor and National Cycling Centre Hamilton head coach, Rick Lee, led to the idea of a joint initiative between Western Australia, Canada and Hong Kong by forming a new international junior track event to be established in Asia.
Noting the need for a new and sustainable model in cycling, a three-way agreement between the parties was established to contribute resources and ideas to an alliance dedicated to developing their junior riders.
The men’s road team was formed after an invitation from China to contest the 2018 Tour of Poyang Lake. The original objective was the junior international track event, but the Alliance saw opportunity in the Asian road racing circuit and decided to register a continental cycling team.
Asian racing is particularly attractive for Continental and Pro-Continental teams, with organisers paying good prize money and assisting with travel expenses. Racing in an event in China is less expensive for most Australian teams than a National Road Series event. A prominent example is St George Continental, an Australian team that barely races locally, with the team much more keen to perform on the bigger stages in East Asia.
We’ve paid attention to the growth of cycling events in China in recent years, with World Tour events like the Tour of Guangxi joining more established UCI events like the Tour of Qinghai Lake and the Tours of China I & II.
Perhaps within the next 10 years each province in China will to have its own tour.
XSpeed United – A new business model and philosophy
As exciting as the Asian racing prospect was, forming a new Conti team felt very risky considering many were folding due to lack of sponsorship. The decision was born from a like-minded collaboration to develop a sustainable model in a sport steeped in tradition and nostalgia.
Grass roots cycling clubs battle to survive on a dying volunteer model and cycling teams have too heavy a reliance on a major injection of funding from one source while carrying high overheads.
The Alliance junior programs have become sustainable through a user pays service and X-Speed United engages all members as part of the business model.
The philosophy of sharing the load requires contributions from all the group’s stakeholders. Industry partners, staff, investors and riders all contribute to a diversity of income to ensure the team’s sustainability.
A concept was initiated in the southern hemisphere, and had an interest in connecting businesses in Asia and Australia and building a platform-based networking program for sponsors. It is not just a logo on a jersey.
The approach came from Canada through the Rider Investor Generation Program, and encouraging riders to engage with small business supporters who relish supporting “their local” on the team.
We aim to offer a pathway to more than just a gig on a team. Our ethos is about team member skill sharing and developing initiatives to give back to the community.
Cycling needs to innovate to survive, from grass roots cycling clubs to professional riders. We are aiming to be the Tesla of cycling and inspire the future.
If you share our philosophy, and want to help share the load, and be part of a new way to a sustainable program, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.