Mark McNally joins Belgian squad Wanty - Groupe Gobert for 2016

The 26-year-old becomes the latest Briton to move up to a UCI ProConti team

Mark McNally heads the race into the sectors at the CiCLE Classic 2015
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Merseysider Mark McNally will become the latest Brit to move to a UCI ProContinental team for 2016, as the 26-year-old will join Belgian squad Wanty - Groupe Gobert.

McNally will join Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka), Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural), Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18) and Dan McLay (Bretagne - Séché Environnement) in riding for a second division team next season.

Although he raced with Tour Series winners Madison-Genesis in 2015, McNally believes his previous five seasons with the Belgian-based An Post-Chain Reaction squad helped secure his move to Wanty.

“I’ve ridden a Belgian-heavy programme for a number of years, I know the races, I can speak the language,” McNally told Cycling Weekly.

“One of Wanty - Groupe Gobert’s managers contacted [Madison-Genesis DS] Roger Hammond – they were looking for a British rider, and he put me forward.

“I’m made up. The deal has taken a while to get sorted but it’s been worth it.”

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The Belgian squad have one of the strongest race programmes of any ProContinental team: in 2015, they raced the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, E3 Harelbeke, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the Eneco Tour and Paris-Tours. An equally-strong schedule is expected in 2016.

McNally added: “I don’t know my exact schedule yet, but Wanty Groupe-Gobert go to some of the biggest races each year. Riding things like Flanders and Roubaix is something I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid.

“I don’t think that has dawned on me yet, but it probably will once I start working towards the start of the new season in training.”

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Having moved back to England following his switch to Madison, McNally and his Belgian girlfriend will head back to her native country in the coming weeks.

“I wouldn’t say I was resigned with racing at Conti level [the sport’s third division, in which both Madison and An Post operate] all my life,” he added.

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“I love bike racing, and I’m thankful that I can make a living out of it. The move to Madison was never a dead end – it gave me a chance to ride plenty of new races, and like [Adam] Blythe, it gave me the stepping stone to bigger things.

“It’s a great team – the set-up Roger and the company have in place is something special. I’ve loved riding for them. “

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