British UCI Continental team Rapha Condor JLT kicked off the new year in style with Felix English and Ed Laverack starring on the road in Australia and Ed Clancy in stunning form on the track.
English picked up the ‘Sprint Ace’ points jersey on his way to second overall at the Bay Criterium Series in Melbourne, as the Men in Black ensured 2014 started with a bang.
Laverack, 19, then followed it up with a stage victory and the overall title in the support series, with team-mate Luke Mellor finishing third after a podium place on the final day, and team director John Herety is delighted with the form showed Down Under.
He said: “Ed winning here goes to show that this young team has learned a great deal in the past twelve months.
“This time last year they were making up the numbers in these races, and now they have stepped up, not just physically, but in the way they race.
“They are still young, and it is early in the year but the process will continue as these riders develop, and I expect a lot more from them in the future.”
English, meanwhile, was delighted to have seen his hard winter work pay-off – having been in Australia since November – as he impressed in the four-day series.
He said: “It was so good to come back here, and go from suffering so much [last year], to not only being competitive, but to actually getting results.”
“I was really pleased with my second place on the first day, but to be honest I got more satisfaction with my performances on the hillier crits, and how I recovered to keep fighting for the jersey over the course of the four days.
“I can’t wait to get going on the road in the Sun Tour in a few weeks, now.”
And Olympic champion Clancy capped the team’s superb opening weekend of the year with a stunning ride on the boards at Revolution.
Clancy took victories in the flying lap and scratch races either side of smashing the world record in the Madison Kilo alongside Ollie Wood, with the duo setting a new mark of 54.537 seconds in Manchester.
This season will be the team’s final one with London-based Rapha as a sponsor, after the clothing and lifestyle brand announced before Christmas they would be ending nine years of sponsorship at the conclusion of this season.