Raleigh unveils five year plan to join Sky at top of world cycling
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Raleigh unveils five year plan to join Sky at top of world cycling

by Conal Andrews at 9:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

British fans are already celebrating that it will have its first ever ProTour team from 2010, thanks to the Team Sky project, but there is an additional reason to be optimistic about following the news that a former big player is to return.

The Raleigh bicycle company has announced that it is setting up a UK based team and that it has the goal of competing at the very highest level within five years, making the Tour de France the logical target.

"Raleigh aim to re-establish themselves at the very height of professional road racing again, 30 years after thier 1980 Tour de France win," stated the team in a press release issued today.

The squad was at the top of world cycling for many years, with iconic riders such as 1980 Tour winner Joop Zoetemelk, Hennie Keiper, Jan Raas, Gerrie Knetemann, Hennie Kuiper, Urs Freuler, Henk Lubberding and Johan van der Velde all riding and winning with the Netherlands-based TI Raleigh squad between 1974 and 1983.

The Peter Post-run team was a major force in European races, winning major events including that 1980 Tour, multiple Tour stages, Classics and the world road race championship. After the team split, the brand’s association with the sport persisted and it backed Laurent Fignon’s Systeme U team in 1989, when the Frenchman won the Giro d’Italia and finished second to Greg LeMond in the Tour de France.

The team is aiming to build gradually and next year it will target key British events. It will also chase an invite to the Tour of Ireland. More details are expected to be released soon, including which riders will be involved. Part of the plan is to attract other sponsors in order to generate the necessary budget.

The success of the Cervélo Test Team has motivated bike manufacturers to become more involved in the running of teams. Current Quick Step and Saxo Bank supplier Specialized is reportedly considering a similar project.



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