2014 NFTO team launched in London

Fledgling UCI-ranked British squad unveiled at BMW's flagship Park Lane showroom

The big-spending NFTO team were unveiled to the public and media in central London yesterday evening.

Nearly all of the team's 15 riders for the 2014 season, including former BMC rider Adam Blythe and Russ and Dean Downing, were present at the launch held at BMW's flagship Park Lane showroom.

Sean Yates, who will DS for the team at the Elite Road Series and Tour Series rounds, was also in attendance.

"I'm looking forward to the season ahead," said the former Team Sky directeur sportif.  "We've got a good bunch of guys here, they seem to get on really well, and that unity will be a big factor.

"I'd be very disappointed if they didn't take the UK scene by storm."

The team is backed by John Wood, a former army man turned military hardware importer, and veteran rider Dean Downing spoke to CW about the impact that Wood has had on the squad.

"He brings something different, things he's learned from his past, and he wants to have fun with it all," said Downing. "That's the interesting and cool part [Wood's background]. There's a lot of that he's brought over, which is completely new to everybody. I've never been on a team when we've had everything signed off before Christmas. It's so precise, it's great. That's the kit, that's training, that's everything.

"He's new to cycling teams, although he's run a bike shop [The Shed, in Hereford] for a couple of years now.

"I think he wanted to see what the team could do in the UK scene to start with. Each time I saw him last year, he spoke more about what he wanted to do."

"He's trying to reinvent things - somethings you can never change. He doesn't want us racing in Belgium or France, for example, he wants to hit certain races properly. We're not doing races for the sheer hell of it.

A number of the team will head to Majorca this weekend for a training camp, with their first goal the Tour of the Reservoir on April 12-13.

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.