The Rapha-Condor team will ride a more international programme of races in 2009 but will also target the Premier Calendar, the new Tour Series, Circuit Races and Nocturne criteriums before the end of season Tour of Britain.

Directeur sportif John Herety has made some major changes to the team, confirming he has signed a total of 12 riders for 2009. Recycling is no longer a main sponsor in 2009, while a major chunk of the financial backing will come from the exclusive Rapha Condor club.

Chris Newton,Dean Downing, Kristian House, Ben Greenwood and Rhys Lloyd have been joined by some classy British and international riders as the team lifts its profile and race programme.

New signings include Tom Southam (from Halfords Bikehut), Simon Richardson (from Plowman Craven), Matt Cronshaw (from Kinesis), Liam Holohan (from Pearl Izumi), Australias Darren Lapthorne (from Sparkasse), Mike Rudling (from SP Systems Wightlink) and Namibia?s Dan Craven (from FidiBC.com).

?We?re giving our season a slightly different slant in 2009 because our sponsors want us to ride more international races and also perform well in the British criteriums,? Herety tells Cycling Weekly.

?We?re looking to ride some races in the USA, South Africa, the Far East and hopefully end the season in Australia.?

?The creation of the Tour series and the extra Nocturne races are a boost to the British racing scene, even if there are going to be a lot of them in the early summer. We?ve made sure we?ve got the riders to get results. We?ve got Deano (Downing) and Darren Lapthorne for the crits, while Tom and Simon Richardson will target stage races and the Premier Calendar events. Chris Newton will be busy on the track until the world championships in March but then he?ll be back on the road.?

?We had a good 2008 and we?re optimistic about 2009. The British scene is going to more balanced and so create some better racing. It should be a very interesting season.?

RELATED LINKS

Cycling Weekly’s 2008 News Review part 1 (January to July)>>

The Wednesday Comment Review of the Year

Cycling Weekly Readers’ Poll 2008 results

2009 British race calendar