By Nick Bull
Those cycling fans who found the name of the Spin Rotor-Primal-C-Originals team a mouthful in 2013 will be pleased to hear it will be somewhat less wordy next year.
James Smith's team has merged with Rod Freeman's MG-Maxifuel outfit to form Starley Primal, although the new squad's ambitions remain as big as the former team names.
Backed by Cheshire-based bike company Starley and Smith's own Primal Europe clothing manufacturer, the team have already set their sights on the 2014 Pearl Izumi Tour Series.
"It's a massive goal for us," said Freeman, whose MG-Maxifuel team placed seventh in the series in 2013 after two years of coming sixth.
"We know the teams in the Tour Series are moving forward. Whereas I don't think MG-Maxifuel went backwards in 2013, teams like UK Youth, Raleigh and especially Metaltek really kicked on from previous years."
It was at the criterium-based series that plans for the merger started, as Smith's team endured a baptism of fire on their event debut.
"His team were very much where my Cyclingbargains.co.uk team was in the event in 2009 - the underdog," added Freeman.
"He had big ambitions for the series, but saw how tough it is and understandably wants to improve."
All-rounder Will Bjergelt, David Lines, Jamie Caldwell, Perry Bowater and Joe Fox stay on with Starley after racing at MG in 2013, although the big-name signing is that of 2012 national hill-climb champion Jack Pullar from Madison Genesis.
Said Freeman: "Jack's still young, he's keen and he's eager to learn. He felt that he would be a long way down the order at Madison, but he'll have opportunities with us next year."
Freeman will oversee the team and racing issues in 2014, while Smith will act as the squad's commercial manager.
The latter was particularly proud to be able to promote Harry Godding and Nicole Cooke's former team-mate Anneliese Heard to the men's and women's teams respectively from the Rutrainingtoday CC "club squad".
"It's the first year it has happened - we started off as a cycling club, so it's good to be able to offer that to riders," said Smith.
"Anneliese will surprise a few people next year, too. She's ready to go and race."
Potentially two wildcard places for next May's inaugural Women's Tour are on offer, and Starley Primal are likely to be in contention for those alongside Matrix-Vulpine and Boot Out Breast Cancer Care.
The men's team has also applied to be a British Cycling Elite National Team, the governing body's new tier that will sit below the country's UCI-ranked Continental squads.
Starley Primal 2014 line-up
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