Team Sky want to win the Tour de France in five years, well Team Raleigh have already done it. That’s the baggage their newly-announced continental team drags with it, but it also forms the sense of purpose and place that will drive the project.

Raleigh dipped their toes into racing in the last couple of years, and in 2009 they had a presence in Premier Calendar races, but the plan now is to shoot for a whole new level. After getting to know each other on a weekend of team building activities the Raleigh riders travelled to the company’s Nottingham headquarters, where managing director Mark Gouldthorp assured them, “This is a serious effort by Raleigh to get back where we were. We have the will and the resources to do it too.”

The team’s ambitions are modest for 2010, but Gouldthorp stressed that a budget was in place to, “Build quickly over the next three years.” Any doubt about the sincerity of that was displayed when Raleigh heard, just prior to their first team meeting, that ex-Cervelo rider Dan Fleeman’s negotiations with an Italian team were floundering. Even though the team was complete at that stage, the extra money was found and Fleeman signed without delay.

As Gouldthorp explained: “This is a serious project. British cyclists are the best in the world, but where is Britain’s best known bike manufacturer? We have let the likes of Cervelo and Specialized get a lead, but we have the history. Eventually the ambition is to get the Raleigh name back to the top of world cycling, like we were in the seventies and eighties. We will need other partners for that, and I don’t know who they are at the moment, but they will be found.”

Raleigh’s plans come over as a bit last minute, which considering the project is just a few months old isn’t a criticism. The team will make their presence felt in the UK next year, especially in the hillier Premier Calendars with talented climbers like Daniel Shand, Liam Holohan and German rider Julian Ramler to back up Fleeman. Expect Fleeman and Tom Barras to perform in the Tour Series too. There are also plans to ride some foreign stage races in preparation for their year one objective of riding the Tour of Britain.

“Things are unfolding all the time,” directeur sportif Chris Truett told Cycling Weekly. “You wouldn’t believe the enquiries we’ve had from good foreign pros wanting to ride for Raleigh, or from the different Raleigh companies abroad who want to race there.”

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Fleeman; last minute signing

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  • Chris Truett Manager

    Thank you for all the positive comments on Team Raleigh.Myself and Dan will be working closely together now and next year ,to put together a good race program at home and abroad for him and rest of the team.

    I am putting good foundation into the10 man squad,which will grow steady over the years,and i hope our fan base will grow with us..Team Raleigh will be a public team for everyone to enjoy and support.

    A family friendly public team…that kids will what to follow and what to look upto.. The is great times ahead for Team Raleigh,and the riders and I are all looking forward to it.

    “Consistency. Noble. Triumphant” ..Quote from one of the Raleigh Riders at team weekend!!!

    Chris Truett -Team Manager

  • S E Stamp

    Well, it’s particularly pleasing to see a British-owned team supporting British-grown talent… It’s a shame that Team Sky didn’t give a class-act like Dan Fleeman the chance he deserved to shine in the Pro Tour. Congratulations for making the most exciting signing for 2010, Team Raleigh. Go for it, Dan, and never give up!

  • Tony Johnson

    I agree with the comments of Mark Jones about the new Raleigh team being more exciting than Team Sky.
    Dan had bad luck during his season with Cervelo, but I am sure all of his many friends in the sport will join me in wishing him a very safe and happy 2010 with the new Raleigh team.

  • Ken Evans

    Doesn’t look like Fleeman will get to ride big climbs suited to his riding style, shame.

    Good for Raleigh for being positive.

  • Mark Jones

    I feel Team Raleigh is a much more exciting project than Team Sky as they are building a team from scratch and building their way up (similar to how Garmin started). Dan Fleeman is a good signing for them and they should be a strong team in the Premier Calendar for next season. It will be interesting to see whether they can progress as planned over the next few years and hopefully they will be able to get bigger sponsors on board to do this.