Besides our presence in Europe and North America, we also have representation in Asia and Oceania, assured by Mark Isaacs. Mark was contacted by Eelco Berkhout, one of SEG Cycling’s directors, after passing his rider agent exam in Switzerland. We were looking to expand our network of agents, and shortly afterwards Mark joined the SEG family.
What are your main goals in Asia/Oceania?
The main objective is to see more riders from these regions in the upper echelons of our sport. There are some amazingly talented athletes that just aren’t presented with opportunities, or do not have the contacts within the sport to take the next step in their career. My aim is to help create those opportunities for athletes that show they have the talent, perseverance and resilience to make a career from cycling.
The ultimate goal is to help promising athletes from Asia and Oceania find their way into WorldTour and Pro Continental teams. This is done by building the SEG brand through these regions, as well as gaining the trust of team directors and riders alike.
Why is SEG an important ally for you and the riders?
I think the main attribute that both myself and riders represented by SEG benefit from is the fact that we are part of a much larger organisation, in that of SEG International. All these services are available to our athletes from within – they are not outsourced. But our job is also creating options to find the best fit for each client, from financial matters to team-related issues. We will offer all options available.
Further to this, the experience and knowledge that our directors Martijn and Eelco Berkhout offer is some of the best available. They have been in this game for over ten years and have built strong relationships with all 18 WorldTour teams. There aren’t many other agencies that can claim that. Some will have good relationships with 5-6 teams, but we can honestly say that we are strong with all 18 teams, and from a rider’s perspective when it comes to contract time, that is the most important ally you can ask for.
How is SEG Cycling growing in Asia?
I think it is growing quite well. Before my commencement with SEG, we already had a small footprint in Asia, with Marc de Maar (ex-Quickstep, Roompot) signing with Hengxiang Cycling at the start of 2017. This year we saw Marc move to the Japanese registered Team UKYO, along with fellow countryman Raymond Kreder. Raymond’s move from Team Roompot to Team UKYO created a lot of interest from the European press, as well as Europe-based riders and Asia-registered Continental teams. 2018 will be a year of building on that interest and introducing new talent into the UCI Asia circuit that previously may not have considered this move.
Cycling in Asia is experiencing substantial growth, with more interest than ever from European teams and riders. We have already seen the UCI Asia Tour go from strength to strength and I can’t see that slowing in the years to come. More .HC and .1 level races will attract quality teams from Europe and the USA, which only raises the overall level. With this, I would expect to see an increased representation of Asian riders in professional teams.