Olympic individual pursuit champion Rebecca Romero, who is switching to the road as she targets gold in the individual time trial at London 2012, took another step along that path at the weekend when it was announced that she has signed for the new Orbea-For Goodness Shakes outfit.
The full 2010 line-up was officially unveiled yesterday at the Redbridge Cycling Centre, and Orbea-FGS says it is the first UK-based team to support both male and female squads, something that leading pro teams such as Cervélo TestTeam and HTC-Columbia already do.
The men’s team, which will race in Britain and on the Continent, is led by former Great Britain rider Andy Lyons, and blends experience with youth, with up-and-coming riders Dan Kogan, Marcel Six, Steven Griffiths, Lewis Atkins and Kristian Downs expected to benefit from the experience not only of Lyone but also of Dean Shannon and Ben Thompson.
Romero heads the women’s team, which will also comprise Cassie Gledhill, Caroline Wojcik-Gammell and Emilie Fisher, along with Janet Birkmyre, who since taking up cycling in her mid-thirties has won a series of National titles and World and European Masters championships over the past few years.
Men’s team manager, Steve Charles said, “I couldn’t be working with a better bunch of riders. The guys have really clicked and already there’s a real team spirit, both on and off the bikes. We’ve got a training camp in Mallorca in late February to fine tune the form before we kick off the season in France at Paris-Evreux. Then it’s back to the UK for some early season local classics before the Premier Calendar starts. This is a big season for us but we’ve been training hard this winter, the fitness is good and we’ll be looking to get off to a flying start come March.”
Meanwhile, Renny Stirling, head of Orbea UK, was excited about the prospect of backing both squads. “To be able to launch both a Men’s and Women’s Squad for 2010 is fantastic and a natural progression for Orbea-For Goodness Shakes! The Men’s Road Calendar is becoming more and more exciting with the introduction of The Tour Series and the fierce competition between all of the teams involved in the domestic scene,” he said.
“Women’s racing has faced some difficult times of late and Orbea wanted to show that we are backing Women’s racing and are proud to be supporting some of the finest Women athletes in the country,” he added.
Orbea also said that Romero had been signed up to its “I‘m Gold” roster of Olympic Champions alongside Samuel Sanchez, winner of the men’s road race in Beijingm, and Julien Absalon, cross country mountain bike gold medalist at both Athens and Beijing as she aims for victory in the World Championships time trial in Melbourne later this year and, in the longer term, gold in the same event at the London Olympics in 2012.
“Orbea are very fortunate to have Rebecca Romero connected with our “I‘m Gold” campaign alongside Samuel Sanchez and Julien Absalon,” claimed Stirling. “Rebecca is a remarkable athlete and has long since proven how adaptable she is, and Orbea will be doing all we can to support her in her quest for Gold Medals in the Worlds and Olympics during the next years,” added Stirling,” he added.
Jodie Shann, Athlete Sponsorship Manager at For Goodness Shakes, commented: “Cycling has always been at the heart of For Goodness Shakes, and after sponsoring Olympic Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins in 2008, we are now extremely excited about taking this to the next level, with the addition of two top cycling squads. Both the men’s and women’s teams carry the same ethos as our brand, and we are looking forward to seeing them both challenging for honours in some of the UK's most prestigious cycle races.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.