The new Rapha Condor team was unveiled in London’s Smithfield last week with a strengthened squad looking to build on last year's successful racing campaign.

Olympic bronze medallist Chris Newton remains in the squad alongside National Criterium Champion Dean Downing and Tour of Britain star Kristian House, who along with Simon Richardson and Ben Greenwood are joined by Tom Southam, former Australian road race champion Darren Lapthorne and reigning African Champion Dan Craven. The team is also bolstered by the signings of hot prospects Rhys Lloyd, Matt Cronshaw, Liam Holohan and Mike Rudling.

The coming season will see the team embark on an packed programme, including events both at home and on the international circuit. As well as building on their success in the UK’s Circuit Race series, Grand Prix and Premier Calendar, Rapha Condor will be launching various assaults on the world stage, including the Tour of Ireland, Tour of Japan, Tour de New York, Giro del Capo, Tour de Qinghai Lake and, returning back home, the Tour of Britain.

In anticipation of what is guaranteed to be a thrilling year, the team has been preparing in south west France and will be heading off to southern Spain later this month for more intensive training. Rapha Condor is confident that the formidable squad they have assembled will realise its potential, possessing as it does both the personalities and mentality to win and win well.

“Expect to see the same style and swagger," says John Herety, Rapha Condor’s Directeur Sportif, “but you’ll see a harder, more ruthless team racing this year. It’s time for us to get noticed and not just for being cool.

“The prospect of taking the team all over the world has motivated me even more to get the best I possibly can from these riders. The Tour of Britain will be a big target for us this year, with the team looking for a stage win at least. Other teams should be warned, this team has riders capable of winning just about every race we enter."

“2009 seems to be the year for criteriums in the UK," adds Dean Downing, “so I’m looking forward to getting the red, white and blue national champs skinsuit out. Also with the Premier Calendar looking strong with 13 races listed, it’s going to be a strong race programme in the UK. Let’s gets started."

“For the 1st part of the season my big objective is the World Track Championships, both points race and team pursuit current form indicates that gold medals are a real possibility this year," says Chris Newton. “Obviously this would be part of a British team but it is with the full support of Rapha Condor that this is possible. The build up to these championships will include some good stage races in South Africa where I hope to utilise the early season form and aim for some stage victories."