McLeod to lead South African Bonitas team in Europe
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Friday, January 27, 2012

McLeod to lead South African Bonitas team in Europe

by Xylon van Eyck at 7:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Previous FDJ pro looking forward to racing again on Euro circuit

Ian McLeodFormer FDJ rider Ian McLeod has given South African Continental Team Bonitas a boost to its line up this season. The 31 year old was convinced by team owner Malcolm Lange that he still had a lot to offer the sport and ending his career now would be “wasting his talent”. McLeod duly accepted the offer and will play a mentoring role within the team.

“How things got rolling was I had three months off the bike after Team DCM folded [last year] so I didn’t really have the time to ride,” McLeod told VeloNation upon completing the team’s first training camp. “My son was born and I was working full time as a financial advisor.

“I was speaking to Malcolm Lange just about the usual things as we still kept in touch and he asked me one day if I’d be interested in getting back on the bike.”

McLeod rode for FDJ from 2005 – 2007 and started three editions of the Vuelta a España plus one Giro d’Italia. The former national champion will take that experience with him when Team Bonitas heads to Europe for the first time as it starts its fourth season.

“I am looking forward to racing in Europe again. We have a nice schedule, which will be good for the younger riders to get a taste of some real racing. I’m going with them as I have a lot of experience there and would love to help the younger talented riders get to where they want to be in their careers.

“For me I have had my time in Europe, so I will be there to race my heart out and to grow this team. I will not be there trying to be noticed again by Pro Tour teams. I have been there. But you never know where this team will end up one day!”

The team also features South African national road champion Darren Lill. He is an accomplished rider on the US racing scene, having won stages in the Tour of Utah and the Mount Hood classic. The two riders could potentially be a surprise package when racing commences in Europe.

“Ian is a good tactician and is highly respected by the younger riders,” said team owner Lange, who’s pleased by the new signing. “His experience and strength as a rider will definitely be a big advantage and add some depth. He also has the old-school professional rider discipline, which will hopefully rub off on the younger riders.”

The team has a roster of eleven riders and plans to split its time between races in South Africa plus three months in Europe.


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