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The first official meeting/get-together of the / MG-XPOWER / Litespeed continental cycling team for 2005 was held at Manchester Velodrome last Saturday preceding the Revolutions 6 event; which Russell and Dean Downing plus new signings Rob Hayles and Chris Newton competed in.
All ten riders, including Olympic medallists Rob Hayles, Paul Manning and Chris Newton were present, along with many of the backup team for the inaugural meeting of the new UCI Continental Registered Professional Cycle Racing Team.

Team Director, Phil Leigh outlined the team’s race programme and aims for 2005, which includes the Tour of Britain, Ruban Granitier, Tour de la Manche, Circuit de Ardennes and Tour Nord-Isere; plus old favourites such as the FBD Milk RAS. Car lover Rob Hayles’ personal favourite event seemed to be the Silverstone MG Festival, “that sounds good to me” with a grin from ear to ear, he commented. Or was it backing Ben in hill climb events that Rob favoured more!

Commercial Director Christian Williams mentioned the main sponsors of the team: / MG-XPOWER / Litespeed / / Haines Watts and Gatorade. Also associated are: FSA finishing kits, Michelin tyres, NIKE shoes, Giro helmets, Speedplay pedals, KMC chains, Ultimate, HED wheels, Weldtite, FineLine Photography, Protec-Smart workwear,, Sport & Publicity, Real Design, Lancaster University Management School,, Sigma Sport HR monitors and bike computers and Fibrax. Further companies associated with the team will be announced shortly. Blimey.

Phil, Christian and Geoff all emphasised how important the relationships with sponsors were to ensure the team continues to prosper over the next three years. Next on the meeting agenda was a team photo-shoot. The weather was not as warm as the Downing Brothers and Robin Sharman had recently been used to, after spending four weeks down under riding for Great Britain and Ireland respectively, in the Herald Sun Tour and Tour Of Queensland. Included in the team photos is the Litespeed race weapon for 2005: The Litespeed TERAMO titanium frame with FSA finishing kits and Real Design wheels; along with custom built Litespeed titanium track frames for Russell and Dean Downing and the rest of the team track squad.

All of the riders put a brave face on for the chilly December afternoon outside the fantastic Manchester Velodrome, where Henry organised the riders, personnel and cars for a series of photos. The full squad laughing and joking showed just how well the team; with both new and existing members had already begun to bond in readiness for the off in 2005.

The 2005 team is:
Team Director: Phil Leigh

Russell Downing (Team Captain)
GBR, Rotherham
Double premier calendar event winner, Sydney World Cup Gold (Team Pursuit) 2004

Chris Newton
GBR, Stockton-on-Tees
World Track Points Champion 2002, Silver Olympic Medallist 2004 (Team Pursuit)

Rob Hayles
GBR, Buxton
Silver Olympic Medallist 2004 (Team Pursuit), Bronze Olympic Medallist 2004 (Madison)

Paul Manning
GBR, Stockport
Silver Olympic Medallist 2004 (Team Pursuit)

Dean Downing
GBR, Rotherham
Winner of Premier Calendar event; yellow jersey holder Suntour stage race, Australia

Robin Sharman
GBR, Repton, Derby
8 wins in 2004, plus best overall UK performer in Suntour stage race, Australia

Shaun Snodden
GBR, Chesterfield
1st Surrey League 5 day 2004; number one ranked cyclo-cross rider 2004

Evan Oliphant
GBR, Wick, Scotland
1st overall Espoir RR series 2004, represented GB in World and European Champs 2004

Ben Greenwood
GBR, Lancaster
Bronze medallist in Espoir road race and Time Trial 2004; best U21 rider 2004

Leigh Cowell
GBR, Preston
3rd overall Espoir road race series 2004; bronze medallist Espoir RR 2003

Team Director Phil Leigh would like to thank all the people who applied to ride for the UCI Continental team next year; the team roster is now complete at ten riders. Phil hopes that all riders who kindly sent their CV’s find a suitable team for the 2005 racing season.

Please check the team website for regular updates on the team.


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