The Endura Racing pro team was unveiled beneath the backdrop of Tower Bridge at London’s Design Museum on Thursday.
But despite the location, there was a very European flavour in the air with the British team taking on a number of big names from the continent for the 2011 season.
Last year, the addition of France’s Alexandre Blain from Cofidis garnered plenty of attention. And rightly so as Blain led from the front, winning the blue meta volante ‘hotspot sprints’ jersey at the Tour of Murcia in March.
Additions to the team for this year include Spaniard Iker Camano, a former member of the Euskaltel-Euskadi ProTour team, and a finisher at both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, along with Estonian Rene Mandri, who joins from French ProTour team Ag2r, and Germany’s Paul Voss from Milram.
Closer to home, Rob Partridge is back again for 2011. Welshman Partridge won the Ryedale Grand Prix Premier Calendar event in June before going on to finish best British rider – eighth overall – at the Tour of Britain in September.
The evergreen Rob Hayles is also back, opting to drop his ‘player-manager’ role of last season to this year concentrate fully on his riding.
“It was really hard doing both last year,” the Briton admitted, “so I’m back to being a full-time rider, and am now feeling better than ever.”
Instead, in comes former pro Julian Winn as directeur sportif, joined by Alex Sans Vega, a directeur sportif at the the Cervélo TestTeam for the past two seasons, who brings big-race experience and a wealth of European race-organiser contacts with him.
Further demonstrating just how international the Scottish team is becoming, the team’s service course this year moves ever-more south to Abergavenny, Wales, with Sans Vega’s base in Girona, Spain, also providing a useful bolt-hole for races on the continent, with the race programme again including the Tour of the Mediterranean and the Tour of Murcia.
Having already kicked off their season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, Endura head to the Tour of the Med on Wednesday 9 February, where Blain, Camano, Partridge and Mandri will be joined by 2010 New Zealand road champion Jack Bauer, Ian Wilkinson, Alex Wetterhall and Maarten De Jonge.
Endura Racing roster 2011
Jack Anderson (Aus)
Jack Bauer (Nzl)
Alexandre Blain (Fra)
Iker Camano (Spa)
Dave Clarke (Gbr)
Rob Hayles (Gbr)
Maarten de Jonge (Ned)
James Moss (Gbr)
Rene Mandri (Est)
Evan Oliphant (Gbr)
Rob Partridge (Gbr)
Scott Thwaites (Gbr)
Paul Voss (Ger)
Alexander Wetterhall (Swe)
Callum Wilkinson (Gbr)
Ian Wilkinson (Gbr)
Oli Beckinsale (Gbr)
Chris Pritchard (Gbr)