British Cycling’s under-23 endurance squad coach Simon Cope will join Bradley Wiggins’s new development team in 2015 as lead directeur sportif, Cycling Weekly understands.
The 48-year-old, who was National Circuit Race Champion in 1997, managed Wiggle-Honda in their inaugural 2013 season and spent five years as coach of BC’s women’s road and endurance academy.
His involvement in the team all-but confirms that the squad’s roster will feature of those male riders on the endurance squad of BC’s Olympic Academy Programme.
Cope and the rider line-up are likely to be revealed at the team’s official launch, which was rumoured to be taking place before Christmas; this now seems unlikely. Cope had yet to respond to CW’s enquiry this morning.
However, it appears that the squad – whose biggest aim is that of helping Wiggins’s transition from road to the track in time for Rio 2016 – will simply be called Team Wiggins.
British race organisers – including Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic event director Colin Clews – confirmed to CW today that entries into races for 2015 had been made in the name of Team Wiggins. Clews tweeted as much on Saturday, a week after GB technical director Shane Sutton had hinted as much.
CW revealed at the start of December that Sky will be the team’s main backer – largely because of the marketing value of the 2012 Tour de France winner. And while UCI rules forbid two teams having the same title sponsor, their logo can still appear prominently on the Rapha clothing the team will wear.
An example of this occurred in mid-2012, when domestic team Rapha Condor-Sharp had to lose the electronics manufacturer from their name (but not their jersey) because Sharp became a secondary sponsor of Garmin.
21st Century Fox, a multinational mass media corporation with ties to Rupert Murdoch, had previously been named as a title sponsor. However, given their lack of brand awareness, this has been discounted.
Sky recently appointed Fiona Morgan as Head of Brand for the company’s entire cycling division. Her previous role was at XIX Entertainment; the artist-management agency owned by Simon Fuller – the very agency which represents Wiggins’s commercial interests.
Team Wiggins developments
October 23, 2014: Andy Tennant and Mark Christian to ride for Team Wiggins