Matt Prior's outfit become first British team to race in UCI's second tier
British domestic team ONE Pro Cycling have had their application for a UCI ProContinental licence confirmed.
Founded by Ashes-winning cricketer Matt Prior and Yorkshire businessman Simon Chappell, the team raced as a UCI Continental team in 2015 but now become Britain’s first team to race in the UCI’s second tier.
After a winter spent bolstering the team’s ranks with signings such as former WorldTour pros Matt Goss and Steele von Hoff, the team can now look forward to an improved and increased race calendar for 2016.
And Prior believes the team has the balance required to be successful at that level.
“We’re incredibly excited to finally have confirmation that ONE Pro Cycling will be racing on a Pro Conti licence in 2016,” he said.
“It’s been a whirlwind journey from when we first initially decided to set up the team to then get to where we are now. As most people will know, we’re an ambitious team and after a strong debut season racing in Britain we were in no doubt of where we wanted to be next season.
“We’ve spent the last few months carefully selecting new riders to join the squad preparing us for what will be a huge step up.
“We have a great balance of talented up and coming riders who are hugely motivated to fulfil their potential, as well as experienced riders who have already tasted success at the top level. This mix of experience and youthful exuberance will stand us in good stead.”
The announcement means ONE Pro Cycling are now the second-highest ranked team in Britain, with only Team Sky – whose continued presence on the WorldTour has also been confirmed by the UCI – above them.
It means the team now have the chance to apply for wildcard entries to the biggest WorldTour races, having already seen their Polish national time trial champion Marcin Bialoblocki handle the transition when he won a stage of the Tour of Poland when racing for the Polish national team.
General manager Becky Frewing added: “A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make our ambition become a reality and I’m immensely proud of what the team have managed to achieve in such a short period of time.
“Plans are already in place for our first training camp in December, and having overseen each of the new rider signings it will be very rewarding for all of us to finally see the whole team come together.”
Goss, von Hoff and Bialoblocki form part of a 20-man roster for the 2016 season, which also includes Tour of Britain King of the Mountains Pete Williams and experienced Brits Yanto Barker and Kristian House.
Australian Olympic track hopeful Glenn O’Shea and Tour de Yorkshire top-ten finisher Richard Handley are also included.
The UCI confirmed ONE Pro Cycling’s elevation in a press release, which also confirmed the 11 WorldTour teams already holding a 2016 licence will continue to race in cycling’s top tier.
Seven further applications are being considered, while 17 teams – including ONE Pro Cycling – have been granted UCI Professional Continental Team licences.
Grand Tour regulars Androni Giocattoli, Bora-Argon 18, Caja Rural, Cofidis and Nippo-Vini Fantini are among the teams to join the British team at that level.
Six further teams have had their applications referred to the Licence Commission after failing in their initial bids.
Among the teams yet to be listed are Direct Energie – formerly Team Europcar – and Bardiani-CSF.
UCI WorldTeams 2016
Ag2r-La Mondiale (FRA)
BMC Racing (USA)
IAM Cycling (SUI)
Team Giant-Alpecin (GER)
Team LottoNL-Jumbo (NED) TEAM SKY (GBR)
Trek Factory Racing (USA) Seven further applications being heard by Licence Commission in line with normal application process
UCI Professional Continental Teams 2016
Bora-Argon 18 (GER)
Caja Rural-Seguros SA (ESP)
Cofidis, Solutions Credits (FRA)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM (FRA)
Drapac Professional Cycling (AUS)
Fortuneo-Vital Concept (FRA) [formerly Bretagne-Seche Environnement]
Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour (BRA)
Nippo-Vini Fantini (ITA) ONE PRO CYCLING (GBR)
Roompot Oranje Peloton (NED)
Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise (BEL)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert (BEL) Six applications initially rejected and have been referred to Licence Commission
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