By Nick Bull
NFTO today unveiled a new partnership with investment company Aberdeen Asset Management as part of it plan to move to UCI ProContinental level for 2016.
The three-year agreement will initially see the FTSE company's logos appear on the team's black jersey from the forthcoming Tour de Yorkshire [May 1-3], with the possibility of it becoming the squad's title sponsor for next season. No financial details were disclosed; the company is the largest listed fund manager in European, managing £350bn.
“I think you can only go so far on your own,” said team owner John Wood. “We started as a small club team in Hereford, developing young local riders.
“I think it's a big thing to say we've achieved going from club level to UCI Continental level. We've done things incrementally, and hopefully together with Aberdeen we can work together in order to progress even further.”
NFTO took the biggest win of its short life at last year's Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, when Adam Blythe won from a breakaway group.
“We've got a lot to live up to from last season, but we want to build on something that we can take to another level,” Wood added.
“We want to race more abroad. The only way to hold talent on a team is to give them a bigger race programme. Aberdeen's offices are worldwide, so they may want us to go to places so as to raise their profile.”
ProContinental level status requires teams to meet the UCI's ethical, financial and administrative criteria. Squads must consist of a minimum of 16 riders. The UCI requires new applications to ProConti level before August 1 this year.
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