A group of fathers in North West England are clubbing together to set up a cycling club for their sons to enable the youngsters to better compete with continental opposition.
The idea behind the new team, which is called Velocity 3-In-One and has already recruited a title sponsor in the shape of 3-In-One oil and is also backed by Evans Cycles, took root when the dads got chatting while watching their sons race, reports The Sentinel.
Believing that their sons were at a disadvantage when competing against well organised continental squads, particularly those from Belgium, the fathers decided to take matters into their own hands.
One of the riders, 14-year-old Joe Evans, who is age group national champion in the 10-mile time trial, told the newspaper: “It was the dads who were behind this. They spend hours together while we are racing and got talking about getting a team together.
"It should be really good as we are all of similar ages and abilities.
"We might be rivals, but we all get on well together.”
The youngster currently races for Staffordshire-based Newcastle RC 2001/Modern Glass and, like the other riders will continue his association with his existing club at local and regional level, representing Velocity 3-In-One in national and international races.
"The setting up of the team does not mean I will be forsaking Newcastle,” he explained.
“They were my first club and have always given help and encouragement.
"The problem for juvenile riders is that when international teams come over to ride the youth tours – particularly the Belgians – they work together and frankly give us a bit of a pasting.
"By developing a team ethic ourselves we should be able to start matching them.”
Other riders in the team, which will be officially launched in Manchester next month, include Christian and Alex Braybrooke from Wilmslow, whose father Phil arranged sponsorship with 3-In-One as well as Evans Cycles, and Will Thomas, aged 15 and from Manchester, who rides for Sportcity Velo.
They are joined by Sam Birchall, aged 15, of Lyme RC/Swinnerton Cycles and Bolton 14-year-old Fabio Close of Sub 7 Cycling, both of whom took part in the DHL Sprint School at the Manchester Velodrome ahead of the Revolution Championship event earlier this month.
Fabio is also one of two riders, the other being 16-year-old Katie Noakes, to be sponsored for the coming year by Fondazione Gazzetta, set up by Simon Lamb, who runs the Gazzetta della Bici blog, to help fund aspiring riders.
Fondazione Gazzetta has secured the backing of Strada Handbuilt Wheels and is also supported by individual donations, and you can find out how you can get involved in helping turn the dreams of these aspiring young riders become reality by visiting its dedicated page here.
Lamb told road.cc: “I'm hoping we can raise loads for these two kids this year. They are great little racers.”
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.