Team Raleigh were presented to the public at the London Bike Show last Saturday.
Heading into its second year on the scene, the team has expanded to twelve riders and seen wholesale changes, with nine new men added for 2011.
“It can’t be anymore exciting as a team or for Raleigh. We’re one of the most competitive teams in the United Kingdom,” Cherie Pridham said, who is team manager alongside Eddie White.
Among a slew of signings bolstering the squad, there are four British Matts: former Rapha man Cronshaw, Gee, Kipling and French exile Jones.
“I’ve regularly finished in the top ten in Premier Calendar but haven’t been able to make the step up. Hopefully this year, I can try for a win, or certainly the podium,” Kipling said.
Raleigh go international
There’s also a strong international flavour to the iconic brand’s British team. Dutchman Jeroen Janssen joins from Kuota, while young French talent Gael Le Bellec signed after being put in touch with the team by Dan Fleeman after a chance conversation at the Tour of Pyrenees.
Le Bellec asked for a poster, mentioned his appreciation for Raleigh bikes and that his mother was from Nottingham, the brand’s base, and things rolled on from there.
In a nod to Raleigh’s ambitions on the Canadian and US markets, North Americans Ryan Parnes, Jamie Sparling and Phil Mooney have also been signed.
Fast finisher Parnes was unequivocal when asked what his aim was. “To win races,” he said. “I’ve got a strong finish, a strong team and plenty of motivation to do it. I’m thrilled to be here, it’s a really impressive peloton.”
Meanwhile, Dan Fleeman, Liam Holohan and Richard Handley remain from last year’s squad. Asked about the team’s debut season, Fleeman said: “It was a new team, it’s always difficult. It wasn’t always the best atmosphere, there wasn’t much direction at the top.”
The former Cervelo rider added: “From what I’ve seen so far, the management seems to have gone up a level, a lot more professional and organised this year. Hopefully it’ll be a good year.”
The team is expected to race a diverse calendar. As well as targeting the Tour Series and Tour of Britain on the home front, races in America, Canada and Spain are also on the cards.
Team Raleigh line-up: Matt Cronshaw (GBr) Dan Fleeman (GBr), Matt Gee (GBr), Richard Handley (GBr), Liam Holohan (GBr), Jeroen Janssen (Ned), Matt Jones (GBr), Matt Kipling (GBr), Gaël Le Bellec (Fra), Phil Mooney (Usa), Ryan Parnes (Usa) and Jamie Sparling (Can)
Raleigh’s oversea brigade for 2011 (l-r): Janssen, Sparling, Parnes, Mooney & Le Bellec
The new Team Raleigh managers Cherie Pridham & Eddie White