New elite women's team to race in UK and Belgium

DriverPlan EDCO Continental Racing will race the UK's best races and kermesses in Belgium

A new elite women's team has been set up for the 2017 season, with the squad of six riders to race the most high-profile UK races and Belgian kermesses.

DriverPlan EDCO Continental Racing has been formed by the same people behind Planet X-Northside, who have been recruiting riders since the summer.

The team will race a mixture of road and criterium races, with their first priorities being the Elite National Road Series that starts in the spring. The Women's Tour de Yorkshire is also a target in the early part of the season, as is the Tour of Malta.

Attention will then turn to the Matrix Fitness GP Series that runs alongside the Tour Series, with the National Road Championships, RideLondon Classique and kermesses in Belgium to fulfil the summer calendar.

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The half-a-dozen riders will be Ellen McDermott, Hannah Brand, Hannah Farran, Hetty Niblett, Jenn Batey and Karolien Liesens.

Batey commented: "We have set our targets high for the 2017 season. We acknowledge we have lofty ambitions, however each rider is 100 percent committed to getting the best out of themselves over the winter and going into 2017 in the best shape possible.

"As a team we have strength and depth ranging from track riding to criterium racing. Each member of the team offers something unique and has a positive impact on the group as a whole."

There will also be a junior women's team that has linked up with the Nicolas Roche Performance Team via the common connection of both wearing Velotec cycling wear. The partnership will enable DriverPlan EDCO's junior team to compete in junior races in France, Holland and Ireland for Roche's outfit.

Alana Prior, Marie Lynn, Anna Kay, Megan Kay and Olivia Fawcett are the five junior riders.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.