By Nick Bull
Metaltek-Knights of Old may have been the surprise package of this year's Pearl Izumi Tour Series, but team owner Andy Swain says he expected his squad to compete with the big name outfits.
Having taken their first ever round victory of the series in Redditch, Swain's team comfortably finished sixth overall, 15 points ahead of nearest rivals MG-Maxifuel and two places ahead of UCI continental team IG-Sigma Sport.
"Finishing where we did is no surprise to us, it's just nice that everybody else is waking up to what we're doing," he said.
"Morale is sky high in the team - we've got a very young, but committed team who bounce off each other. I think that's why we've gained strength round by round, whereas by the end of last year's series [they finished eighth overall] we didn't really want to be here anymore!
"Admittedly we didn't expect to win a round, but we'll take it!"
Metaltek-Knights of Old riders on the front of the peloton in Redditch
Swain is the owner of the team's title sponsor Metaltek Engineering Solutions, and combines his time running the squad, however he has no plans to settle with how the team are faring.
"I'm not sure what I was running on after combining the day job with 12 rounds of the series, but I enjoyed every minute," he joked.
"We've got a very committed partner in [container shipping company] Knights of Old, and our results this year, combined with a series of behind-the-scenes videos online [external link], means that we're getting a lot more interest in the team.
"Already in 2013 we've beaten teams with a much bigger budget than ours, and fighting it out with the top teams is where we want to be on a regular basis.
"If we continue to progress like we have done, I don't see why we wouldn't be able to end the year well in the Premier Calendar rounds, and then strengthen to do even better in 2014."
Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2013: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Chris Froome reveals the race he'd like to win before retirement
The seven-time Grand Tour winner speaks about how tech and data help younger riders get to the top earlier and how it helps recovery
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Coldplay perform using energy powered by 60 cyclists
The cyclists powered the music performances at the inaugural Earthshot Prize
By Ryan Dabbs •