Daniel Lloyd, one of a handful of British riders to race last year in cycling’s elite WorldTour peloton, has joined Team IG-Sigma Sport for 2012.
Lloyd found himself out of contract with Garmin-Cervelo after a season in which he had ridden the Tour of Flanders and the Criterium du Dauphine. In 2010, he rode the Tour De France and Giro d’Italia for the Cervelo Test Team.
He told RoadCyclingUK he was pleased to be riding for a British team at a period of rising popularity for the sport in the UK.
“There’s a buzz around cycling in general, not just racing, with participation levels increasing, and people buying expensive bikes, especially in London. Things are on the up for cycling and I can’t see that trend stopping with the Olympics coming up. It’s a good time to be involved in cycling.
“IG is a prolific sponsor of UK cycling with criteriums, road races and support for the Tour of Britain. It’s nice to work with a sponsor that supports British cycling,” he said.
Lloyd is preparing to discuss his race schedule with the team’s management. He said he had ridden less this winter than in years in which he knew he would be racing the following spring, but added that with the national championships not until June and the Tour of Britain in September, his season would not be compromised.
After three years in cycling’s elite WorldTour peloton, Lloyd’s international experience could be a major asset to his new team in races overseas, but he insisted knowledge would be shared throughout the team, adding that he hoped to draw on his teammates’ more recent knowledge of domestic races.
He warned that competition for places in this year’s Tour of Britain would be intense, with all six of Britain’s UCI Continental squads – Endura Racing, Node4-Giordana, Rapha Condor Sharp, Team Raleigh, Team IG-Sigma Sport, and Team UK Youth – likely to target the race.
Lloyd, respected in the peloton for his selfless work rate, and former Team Sky rider, Russell Downing, both found themselves out of contract with their WorldTour employers at the end of a 2011 season ridden in the service of others.
The UCI has been criticised for making the riders’ points total part of a team’s qualification criteria for a WorldTour licence, with claims that the stipulation devalues the contribution of riders who race in support of others.
But the WorldTour’s loss has benefitted Britain’s UCI Continental teams, following Downing’s move to Endura Racing and Lloyd’s decision to join Team IG-Sigma-Sport.
Lloyd told RoadCyclingUK he had enjoyed his two years in the WorldTour, and said that places at the top level of any sport were guaranteed only to the world’s best.