MARK Christian’s new Raleigh UK 14-man cycling team was officially launched last week with the help of former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and footballer Viv Anderson, the ex-Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and England player.
The two special guests were in attendance on behalf of team sponsor GAC and talked about the synergies between their sporting achievements, Raleigh and GAC brands, plus Team Raleigh’s strengths.
Following its hugely successful period in the 1970s and 80s, which culminated in a Tour De France win in 1980, the new Team Raleigh has been in existence since 2010 and has been steadily progressing through the ranks of professional cycling.
The company has had its headquarters in Nottingham for more than 125 years.
Team Raleigh begin their 2013 season as a Continental level team, competing in domestic, European and International races but, according to team manager Cherie Pridham, ‘will be looking to build on last year’s domestic successes and raise the bar in Europe.’
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Christian is one of eight new riders in the team along with Alexandre Blain, Richard Lang, Lachlan Norris, Sam Witmiz, Mark O’Brien, Rob Britton, Tom Scully, Tom Moses and Eric Berthou.
The other four riders were also in the 2012 team, namely Graham Briggs, Russell Hampton, Evan Oliphant and Matthew Holmes
The launch was presided over by Eurosport commentator Anthony McCrossan who introduced guest speakers from the team’s three primary sponsors, Raleigh, GAC and The Nottingham.
Raleigh marketing director Geoff Giddings reflected on a highly successful 2012 campaign, which saw more than 50 podium places in races including the Tour Series and Vuelta Mexico, restating the team’s desire to get to the pinnacle of professional cycling.
The team has now headed off for a tough winter training camp in Majorca, followed by some early season races in France.
Their first UK races will be in March.