Using the wonderful location of London Zoo, Halfords has announced that it will sponsor an entirely British professional
cycling team. National champion Nicole
Cooke will lead the squad, which will look to put British riders in contention for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Chris Boardman, Julian Winn (Team
Manager), Dave Brailsford, Jess Allen, Rob Hayles, Nicole Cooke, Emma
Trott and Joanna Rowsell pose in front of the bear pit at London Zoo
Rob Hayles, one of two men on the
The squad, to be called Team Halfords Bikehut, will consist of 10 women riders supplemented by top male riders Rob Hayles and Tom Southam,
who will ride a full domestic season of Premier Calender and National Criterium
Series events under the new team colours.
With Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling, taking the reins
as general manager, the innovative new approach is the first step on the road
to a full British professional team.
Said Brailsford: “Being able to work with a British company on a project such
as this in the run up to the Beijing Olympic Games presents not only the perfect
performance environment for Nicole Cooke and her team mates but is also a fantastic
commercial opportunity for British Cycling to work with a company whose heritage
in the sport and accessibility in the British market will enable us to grow
what we hope will be a successful and productive partnership in years to come.”
Nicole, who went to Beijing in early December to ride the Olympic course on
her new Boardman bike, is just as excited about the opportunity. “It’s
absolutely fantastic. This will be the first ever British professional women’s
team and I believe it’s the biggest step forward in women’s sport
in this country for many, many years.”
The deal between British Cycling and Halfords will see the team riding bikes designed by Olympic champion Chris Boardman MBE.
The range of bikes was launched last year in a joint venture between Halfords
Boardman. The team will ride bikes with a specification identical to those already on sale in Halfords
Bikehut stores around the UK.
Halfords chief executive, Ian McLeod said: “This is a brilliant opportunity
to support our key athletes in their preparation for the Beijing Olympics and
to field a world class all British team riding on the international circuit.
The partnership with British Cycling is also key in reinforcing Halfords’
reputation as a credible retailer for enthusiast cyclists. We have been working
with Chris Boardman over the last three years to develop his range of bikes,
bringing them to the market in 2007. The fact that they have been chosen by
the team is the highest accolade for the quality of the product.”
Jess Allen, Emma Trott, Chris Boardman
and Joanna Rowsell
Emma Trott shows off the new Boardman
London cycling legend Simon Cope is an Academy
Preparing for a quick spin round