Nottingham-based Raleigh Bikes is launching Team Raleigh, a Continental professional road racing team in 2010.
"The prompt was that Raleigh is a global brand name and we need to re-establish ourselves in the performance sector of the market globally," Raleigh UK's marketing manager Geoff Giddings told BikeRadar Wednesday. "Having top riders on our products performing at the very highest levels of the sport is the best ways of making our bikes and the brand desirable again."
Raleigh last sponsored British women's racer Nicole Cooke in 2007; it's been 20 years since the Nottingham company sponsored Laurent Fignon's System U team.
The 1980s were good years for the bike maker, starting with Joop Zoetemelk's Tour de France victory for TI-Raleigh in 1980, then the Levi-Raleigh team with a young Andy Hampsten and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic stars Nelson Vails and Connie Carpenter-Phinney from 1983 to 1986.
"We also have a parallel plan alongside the team aspirations to harmonies across the world our product ranges starting with road bikes," Giddings added. "This initiative has to be driven from the UK and will be embraced by our sister companies around the world as we work together on range development for 2011."
Giddings said the team plans to compete "at the highest level with five years." The team will be announcing co-sponsors and a rider roster in the coming weeks. Chris Truett has been named team manager.
To follow BikeRadar's Twitter postings, click twitter.com/bikeradar.