One Pro Cycling, the British team backed by former England cricketer Matt Prior, announced on Wednesday morning that they have applied for UCI Pro Continental status for 2016.
The fledgling team, founded for this season, has enjoyed success in its opening seven months. They narrowly missed out on the Tour Series title, and Jon Mould, Chris Opie and Marcin Bialoblocki sit first, third and fourth in British Cycling’s rider ranking.
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One say moving to Pro Continental level, the division that sits below the likes of Team Sky and the other WorldTour squads, moves them one step nearer to their ambition of competing in the Tour de France. The team’s programme would take on a more international focus as a result.
“After a successful and hugely enjoyable first season we feel now is the right time to start the process to attain UCI Pro Continental status,” said Prior. “The last five months has been about establishing the team at Continental level and putting in place a sustainable commercial strategy. Having achieved this we feel we have the correct structure in place to take the step up to the next level.
“Our decision is partly based on the success One Pro Cycling has seen in the saddle, but also due to the enormous support the team has received on the roads over the past five months and through our growing membership scheme. There is huge enthusiasm for cycling in the UK and the sport continues to grow in popularity – if successful, this move keeps us at the heart of it.
“Today’s announcement is hopefully another small step towards our long term ambition to participate in the biggest races in the world including the Tour de France”.
Although Britain has never had a UCI ProContinental team, in 2016 it may end up with two: NFTO announced earlier in the year their application to move to the same level.
Pro Continental 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 Pro Conti level before August 1 this year.
The Cervélo S5, as used by One Pro Cycling