New Node4 Giordana UK squad set up by Griffiths, replaces Motorpoint
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Node4 Giordana UK squad set up by Griffiths, replaces Motorpoint

by VeloNation Press at 7:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Malcolm Elliott, Philip Lavery and others on board, international race programme

Node4 cyclingBouncing back after the loss of their previous team sponsor, Phil Griffiths has succeeded in landing new backers for a Continental team and will continue in the British and European peloton in 2012. The 62 year old team manager is will oversee the Node4 Giordana squad, which will have additional support by Subaru.

Griffith’s team will retain several familiar faces from his previous Motorpoint team, with Pete Williams, James Sampson, Marcin Bialoblocki, Andrew Magnier and Lee Davis all returning. Also coming back is Malcolm Elliott, the former Vuelta a España stage winner and points jersey champion. He’ll fill a managerial role, but the team has indicated that he hasn’t made a definite decision to retire; there appears to be a chance that he might continue to do some racing.

Tour of Britain winner and Tour de France rider Bill Nickson will also direct the squad.

This guiding influence has helped secure several exciting new riders, including the young Irish competitor Philip Lavery, who raced with the An Post Sean Kelly team this season, plus James Moss, Kieran Frend, Matt Higgins, Dave Clarke, Matt Cronshaw and Rico Rogers.

The latter is a former Tour of China stage winner and has been brought on board as the team sprinter. Griffiths had been trying to secure the signature of a certain Team Sky rider and when that didn’t pan out, he went for the 34 year old Kiwi.

“It was a shame that Russell Downing could not have waited to sign a contract, we would have loved to have him back,” he said. “But for Russ read Rico, he will be our sprinter…he has a formidable record including a stage win in the Tour of China.”

Lavery is one of Ireland’s most promising young riders. He’s competed for some time with the An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team, which is the main opportunity for young competitors from the country to chase pro contracts. He’s decided a fresh start is needed, and is pleased with what is on offer with Griffith’s team.

“I felt that An Post was not the right team for me,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere with a tighter team spirit. Phil has a good reputation for treating his riders well, everyone knows how he helped Russ Downing.”

Smaller and lighter than many of those he has been competing against, he also believes a different terrain will suit him better. “The kind of race programme like the [An Post] Rás, Tour of Britain, Tour of Norway and stage races in France, Spain and Portugal suit me more than a lot of the Belgian races. There are also the Premiers [Premier Calendar events] and I will be released to ride the midweek Nation’s Cup under 23 races for Ireland. At the start I plan to remain in Dublin but will move across during the season.”

Matt Cronshaw moves across from the Raleigh team and said that he is also looking forward to the race programme. “We have a well organised team with ambitions and having a manager like Malcolm who everyone respects means it will be a good year.

“I tend to go well early in the season so will hope to repeat my stage win the Tour of Doon Hame if I get picked, and do the Lincoln and East Midlands as they are races which suit me. At this level you want to ride good races and push yourself. I am not being given a bike and nice kit just for me to have a laugh. I have to justify my place but I have plenty of belief.”

Rogers is likely to be the first of the team to race. He will line out in the Australian Criterium Championships early next month, and is fired up after placing fourth next year. Meanwhile Britain’s world junior champion Lucy Garner will be competing for the team in early January in the omnium events at the Rotterdam and Bremen Sixes day events.

Elliott’s important role:


Whether or not he ultimately decides to compete, 50 year old Elliott is certain to play a major part in the team. His palmares – which also includes victories in the Tour of Britain and third in the Amstel Gold Race – ensures that the younger competitors respect him, and so too his experience and his general manner.

Node4 GirodanaFor Lavery, this was another factor in his choice. “Another big motivation to sign was having a rider like Malcolm Elliot in the team car. I met him several years ago when he rode the Ras and my mother was a masseur on the race,” he said. “Just seeing how he looked after his bike was an inspiration to me as a young rider.

“A young rider can learn so much from a man with his background and experience, he is the kind of leader riders can respect. It is such a confidence boost have someone like that in the car and you just want to win his approval.

“I still have plenty of international ambitions and would like to get on a Pro Tour team in the next couple of years. I know I have the ability, it is a question of showing the confidence and getting the right results.”

He and the other riders have their opportunity thanks to the backing of Andrew Gilbert of Node 4 Data Centre Solutions. He explained why he took over from Motorpoint when its two year sponsorship ended.

“I personally love cycling. It can be an addictive sport. But I particularly love Phil Griffiths’ passion for the sport and his total commitment to developing the sport and the team,” he said. “His zest and enthusiasm after so many years involvement to cycling were enough for us to put our name to his team and I am sure it will be a mutually successful partnership.”

Griffiths emphasises the ‘buzz’ he gets from running a team, saying that he wants to keep giving to the sport. “I still feel I owe a debt to cycling - without it, I would never have become a successful businessman. Cycling has given me everything. Supporting a team helps my business and I still enjoy the buzz of being involved in cycle racing at the top level.”

So too does Elliott, who had a reputation for being a playboy during his European and US-based pro career, but who remains serious and passionate about it years later.

“We have signed an interesting blend of riders,” he said. “We are not obviously a super team, so it is teams like Endura, who have upped the anti, and will have the pressure on them.

“The scene is constantly shifting and Rapha have changed their emphasis, as have Raleigh. There are now six UCI teams competing on home roads. Every year the competition steps up. Some of our riders have unfulfilled ambitions. Hopefully I can pass on as much knowledge as I can.”

----

Riders:

Remaining from Motorpoint setup:

Peter Williams
James Sampson
Marcin Bialoblocki
Andrew Magnier
Lee Davis

New signings:

Philip Lavery
James Moss
Kieran Frend
Matt Higgins
Dave Clarke
Matt Cronshaw
Rico Rogers

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