After more than a year without racing, Ribble-Weldtite are finally starting their 2021 campaign.
The British Continental squad, based in the North of England, are one of many domestic teams that have struggled through the coronavirus pandemic.
But after a long lay-off from competition, the squad will be starting their season with a Covid-safe training camp in Northumberland, followed by their first competitions next month.
The team, home to British talents James Shaw, Dan Bigham and Cameron Jeffers, is implementing a number of tough coronavirus restrictions to ensure their first camp of the year is safe.
The squad said: “Ribble-Weldtite Pro Cycling begin their 2021 campaign with a training camp this weekend in Northumberland, the first full team to get together since February 2020.
“The team have been granted Elite athlete dispensation enabling them to train and race providing appropriate testing protocols are in place.
“The team have always followed both the letter and spirit of relevant Covid regulations and as such have not participated in foreign training camps or group training activities. However with an approach of competition it is now important for the riders to train together and again have the opportunity to practise group riding skills, bike changes, race radios and all the other innumerable details that distinguish a bike race from a bike ride.”
Riders taking part in the training camp will all be staying in self-catered accommodation in rural Northumberland, with all rides taking place without coffee stops and without public interaction.
Each rider and staff member has had a Covid test, provided by Ribble-Weldtite partner Medichecks, five days before the camp, and each will undergo a further Antigen test before they are allowed into the team ‘bubble’.
Everyone involved will have to test negative twice before joining the camp.
The team started 2020 with a bang at the inaugural Saudi Tour, where the squad raced against WorldTour teams in the Middle East, before their season was completely derailed by the pandemic.
From April 12, British Cycling has said outdoor regional races and some national competitions will return, paving the way for Ribble-Weldtite’s return to competition.
The squad will race in Britain throughout April, before the start of their European campaign in May, starting with the Ronde Van Overijssel and then the Tour of Estonia.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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