Rapha Condor Sharp changes focus to development in 2012, Chris Jennings on board
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rapha Condor Sharp changes focus to development in 2012, Chris Jennings on board

by Xylon van Eyck at 10:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Twenty year old South African happy to be part of the set up next year

Chris JenningsBritish Continental team Rapha Condor Sharp has announced a major shift in the team’s focus. The team has been around since 2006 and has dominated the UK racing scene along with major success in other parts of the world like Asia and Africa, but will now place major emphasis on young rider development rather than signing riders to win races.

In a statement released yesterday it laid out the new direction. “The team’s number one ambition will be to develop and nurture talent so that the best young UK riders move up through the ranks to the best teams in the world. This will be achieved by providing race programs, as well as the best in coaching, equipment and management along with close working relationships with Professional Continental and World Tour teams.”

The team confirmed experienced riders Andrew Tennant, Ed Clancy, Kristian House, Dean Downing and James McCallum will remain part of the roster for next year, to share their experience with the young riders joining the squad.

It announced seven new young riders for 2012 that will form part of the squads new objectives. They are Richard Handley, Luke Mellor, Tim Kennaugh [younger brother to Peter who rides for Team Sky], Oliver Rossi (all UK) Richard Lang, Ben Grenda (both Australia), and Christopher Jennings (South Africa).

VeloNation spoke to Jennings who this year raced for Spanish team Burgos 2016 - Castilla y León. When asked how his joining the UK outfit came about, he explained his interest in the team started several months ago. “I performed fairly well at the Tour of South Africa early on in the year where Rapha Condor where also racing. From then on it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to be part of the Rapha setup, after seeing how professionally it was run. My Spanish agent got in touch with John [Herety] and luckily all things worked out smoothly.”

The 20 year old South African, who has previously finished fifth in the junior Tour of Flanders, spoke about his ambitions for next year.

“I would personally like to start getting some good results again. I have had a real dry spell this year and my confidence took a bit of a knock. It’s not that I’m not strong enough to perform, but I suffered being on a Spanish team where every race has at least two mountains and the guys I race against are half my weight and size,” said Jennings.

“I want to start getting myself on the podium again and hopefully get some victories. I'm also looking to learn and gain as much experience as I can from John and the older guys on the team. John has dealt with the very top British riders and I think he will have a ton of knowledge to share.”

The team has long term commitment from its sponsors and more rider announcements expected to follow shortly. Simon Mottram, C.E.O of Rapha, said, “We firmly believe that the Rapha Condor Sharp team can make more of a contribution to UK racing by taking a different approach, with a different ambition.

“We all hope that a new generation of fans are being drawn to cycle racing and, among them will be hundreds if not thousands of young hopefuls, keen to try out racing and emulate their new heroes”.

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