Two of the strongest teams on last year’s British race circuit have amalgamated to become the new super team of domestic cycling in the form of Rapha-Condor-Recycling.co.uk, and will be as feared by the opposition as they will by the race commentators.
The team launch was held at the swanky Singapura restaurant in London and, while the evening was full of surprises, the unveiling of the team kit was not, revealing the black, white and pink which has become synonymous with trendy cyclo-tailors, Rapha. The very sexy team bikes will be the hand-made full carbon Condor Leggero with DuraAce groupset. Although the team strip might seem a little ‘retro’ to some, the outlook of the team is anything but, as manager John Herety explained of his young 14 rider squad:
"For the 2007 season the Recycling team (of which he was manager) was all about giving a platform to younger riders and this merger will allow us to further their development whilst at the same time allow us to be competitive both domestically and internationally."
Despite the emphasis on the youthful future of the team, the squad will be anchored by two of Britain’s most accomplished pros in the shape of Chris Newton and Dean Downing. The duo will lead their young charges in the usual round of Premier Calendar races in Britain as well as an extended European programme including major races in France and the inaugural Tour of South Africa.
Newton said that his commitments to his new team will "fit in well" with his Olympic preparation where he is expected to ride in both the team pursuit and the points race.
The first surprise of the evening came when Dean Downing was presented with a birthday cake accompanied by the usual cries from his fan club of "Deano, Deano!" Although Deano might have been surprised this was nothing compared to the announcement by guest of honour Mick Bennett (race director of the Tour of Britain) who said that the team were the first to be given a place on the country's national tour. A genuinely surprised Herety joked: "But my wallet is still in my pocket!"
Team manager: John Herety
Riders: Chris Newton, Dean Downing, Kristian House, Graham Briggs, Ben Greenwood, Rob Partridge, Ryan Bonser, Dale Appleby, Matt Rowe, Simon Holt, Adam Bonser, Tom Diggle, Rhys Lloyd, Luke Rowe (junior).