2013 Uk Domestic teams taking shape
With the 2013 season still a good four months away, most of the major squads are now in place. Here is a review of the big three and their key performers.
Not since the late 1980's and the epic duels of the ANC, Ever Ready and Banana teams has the UK domestic cycling scene shown such promise and strength in depth.
This preview takes in the big three of Rapha/Condor/Sharp, UK Youth and newcomers Madison/Genesis, but we could talk about Raleigh, Knights of Old and so on. We have some big teams now competing on our shores. Of course with Endura stepping up there has been a bit of movement in the transfer market as some of their riders are not going on their European adventure.
Here are the line ups confirmed so far for the teams mentioned above and (my own brief) comments about key riders.
The big departure is Dean Downing who we will come onto with his new team. Star billing is shared by Ed Clancy of Olympic fame and Kristian House who is a former GB road race champion and who lit up both the Tour Series and Tour of Britain with some great attacking displays.
James McCallum is an interesting rider who has bubbled under the top layer for some years now and should have some great opportunities in this team.
Team UK Youth
With 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt yet to confirm his ride for 2013, the UK Youth team haven't been slow in looking to add depth to their top line of riders.
Quick is the main adjective to describe Rob Partridge who is a demon in events such as the Tour Series. Ian Wilkinson also arrives from Endura Racing and the former East Midlands CiCLE Classic winner will be a real strong man for this team. Yanto Barker needs no introduction and has probably the most class of all the domestic riders currently riding.
Marcin Bialoblocki is another great criterium rider and will be a factory in the Premier Calendars less hilly events.
Last but not least in this preview are the new Madison squad managed by former professional rider Roger Hammond. An ex-GB road race champion with a podium place in Paris-Roubaix, Hammond needs no introduction to UK cycling fans. He has wasted no time in getting the sort of talent assembled to trouble the other teams in criteriums and road races.
Dean Downing is a legend on the domestic scene and will be keen to continue his prolific record on our roads. Ian Bibby has been touted as the next big rider from these shores to break through and make it in Europe. Jon Tiernan-Locke seems to have overtaken him in that ambition and Bibby will need to ride strongly in 2013 to get back in prime position in the UK.
Liam Holohan was a regular sprint winner in the last two seasons Tour Series events and will add some firepower to a team who will be looking to get noticed early in their existence.
Of course we haven't touched on other established teams and a domestic scene that includes the likes of Tony Gibb and Graham Briggs.
2013 is shaping up to be an epic with real comeptition amongst teams for key prizes like the Lincoln Grand Prix and Tour of the Reservoir.
My pulse is already quickening...