French legend Bernard Hinault introduces Team Raleigh at 2014 launch

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French legend Bernard Hinault introduces Team Raleigh at 2014 launch

British team unveil retro-style kit in colours of former TI-Raleigh team

Team Raleigh’s 2014 campaign was officially launched by French legend and team patron Bernard Hinault in Marseille, France on Wednesday.

Following a successful 2013 campaign, the UCI Continental squad – who have been at a winter training camp in La Londe de Maures, where the presentation took place – will don the colours of their famous ancestors, the TI-Raleigh team.

The iconic red, yellow and black kit is a pointer to the team which delivered Joop Zoetemelk, who also spoke at the presentation, to success at the 1980 Tour de France.

Team Raleigh’s retro-style kit will bring back fond memories for fans of the former Ti-Raleigh team of the 1980s

And team manager Cherie Pridham hopes the 2014 launch is another step on the road to returning Raleigh to the pinnacle of the sport.

“Today is a special day for Raleigh, being able to announce my team with the blessing of so many former cycling greats,” she said.

“We are striving for a return to the pinnacle of professional cycling and I hope that this event very clearly signals our intent.

“The squad of riders we have assembled this year has tremendous strength in depth and will be a force to be reckoned with both at home and on the continent.”

Among those riders for 2014 is Yanto Barker, who finished last year ranked as Britain’s number one domestic rider after a successful year with the now-defunct Team UK Youth.

Rutland-Melton champion Ian Wilkinson, also formerly of Team UK Youth, and rising time trial ace Joe Perrett, who last year rode for IG-Sigma Sport, are also among the new signings, while Evan Oliphant, Alexandre Blain and Mark Christian are all retained.

Former Tour de France winners Lucien Aimar and Stephen Roche were also among the guests invited to the team launch, while Scotsman Evan Oliphant announced the arrival of the team on stage by playing the bagpipes.

The squad will race on Raleigh’s flagship Militis Team bike for the 2014 season, with the Aura Team their time trial machine of choice.

John Vicars, chief operating officer at Derby County FC, and also a Team Raleigh patron, said: “As a cycling enthusiast I feel very honoured to have been asked to take this role alongside the team’s French patron Bernard Hinault.

“I was approached to provide strategic direction [for the team] and identify areas where they could increase commercial revenues. We are now gearing up for what promises to be an exciting 2014 season for the team on the Continental Tour.”

Having opened their season at the Tour Méditerranéen, won by BMC Racing’s Steve Cummings, the team will now continue their campaign by competing at the Tour Haut Var this weekend.

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