Lloyd signs with IG – Sigma Sport, plans to help team grow
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Lloyd signs with IG – Sigma Sport, plans to help team grow

by VeloNation Press at 5:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Former Garmin-Cervélo rider pleased to continue in cycling

Dan LloydSix weeks after he said that he might have to retire from the sport, British competitor Daniel Lloyd has confirmed he will prolong his career after signing a one year contract with the IG – Sigma Sport team.

The former Cervélo Test Team and Garmin-Cervélo rider will compete with the British-based Continental squad in 2012.

The squad has laid out goals of a top ten overall finish in the Tour of Britain, plus victories at the Tour Series and Premier Calendar events.

Today’s news assuages fears that Lloyd might have to retire from the sport at just 31 years of age. Speaking to VeloNation in mid-December, he talked about the difficulties in finding a new contract and said that there were no slots left on UCI ProTeams.

“I considered the US, along the lines of Charly Wegelius with United Healthcare where his programme was largely European with occasional trips to the US,” he said. “But it wouldn’t be feasible for me to relocate to the US with a wife, two kids and a dog. Anyway, that door was shut too.”

Worried he’d have to retire, he talked about how he was trying to come to terms with that. “For ten years I’ve had goals in cycling and all my focus has been there – it’s strange having to think about what comes next,” he explained.

“It’s all very well thinking; ‘well, it’s raining and I don’t have to do five hours’ but I’ve no doubt when I’m watching racing on TV, I’ll really miss it. And there’s that amazing feeling when you’re on top of your form and your legs are turning easily – I’ll miss that.”

Fortunately he said yesterday that he’d be able to continue, thanks to the new deal. It’s something which will please his supporters, who felt that he was too young to stop. “After a few weeks I had accepted that my racing career had come to an end, but I have already been persuaded out of retirement by my good friend Ian Whittingham at Sigma Sport,” he explained.

“I'm very excited to join the team as it moves to the next level with the title sponsorship of IG Markets, who are one of the largest sponsors of UK cycling. I'm looking forward to working with them and the team’s other partners, and also to passing on my experience to the other riders in the team.”

Whittingham, who is the director of the team, explained why he wanted Lloyd to stay in the sport and how he felt he would benefit his squad. “Daniel has ridden at the very highest level for the last four years, putting in some impressive performances in races such as the Tour De France, Giro D'Italia and Tour of Flanders while in the service of some of the biggest names in the sport.

“The wealth of experience Daniel brings to the team will be crucial as we take the next step on our team’s exciting journey.”

Lloyd’s results include fourth overall in the 2009 Tour of Qatar and ninth in the Strade Bianche the same year, as well as runner-up slot in the national championships. The latter race is a target for him, with Lloyd saying last month that one of the big goals of his career was to win the race. He’s only 31 and feels that there’s several more seasons in his legs.

IG Markets head of sponsorship Olly Stevens echoes Whittingham’s belief that Lloyd will be a very important addition as the team develops and expands. “His performances in the 2010 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France working for Carlos Sastre were exceptional,” he stated. “We are very happy to see him return to racing in the UK. The signing of such a strong rider shows the continued development and ambition of Team IG - Sigma Sport, and the team is in a strong position to contend throughout the season in the UK’s biggest races.”

“Adding this calibre of rider on the IG Markets – Sigma Sport is fantastic on two levels,” said Specialized PR manager James Booth. “Firstly, he will bring a huge amount of experience for the other riders and secondly he will add some firepower to the squad for the bigger stage races.”

Lloyd previously races those bikes while with the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team in 2008. His season with that team led to the Cervélo Test Team contract; he’ll hope to compete in the sport’s top races again in the future.

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