Halfords is to be the “Official Partner” to British Cycling's elite Premier Calendar Series in 2009 - the top level of road cycling competition for men in this country - which starts this weekend.
British Cycling is presenting the move as an extension of the organisation's existing relationship with Halford's – Nicole Cooke won Olympic gold and a world title riding one of Halford's range of Boardman bikes. Ironically Cooke announced last week that her new team would be riding Focus bikes – the German brand exclusively distributed in this country by Wiggle.
Team Halfords Bikehut will again be competing in the series with Rob Hayles, current National Champion, leading them.
British Cycling says that the partnership will provide extra funding for race organisers and will enable an overall prize fund to be established for the series. Halfords will also be working with British Cycling to target additional resources at all other levels of cycle sport too from grass roots up to elite level in a bid to increase participation – no word yet on whether these efforts will be co-ordinated with what Sky also wants to do with British Cycling to increase cycling participation, but certainly don't expect to see any Premier Calendar action on Sky just yet. It will be broadcast though, on Eurosport.
On another note Sky are also rumoured to be about to undertake a major revamp of the British Cycling website.
Commenting on the Premier Calendar Series partnership with Halfords, Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s cycle sport and membership director, said: “I’m delighted that we have Halfords as an official partner of the Premier Calendar Series. Thanks to Halfords we can improve the support we offer to race organisers – something which, in turn, will help us to raise the profile of the Premier Calendar Series and cycling in general in the UK.”
Given the current climate for sports sponsorship British Cycling can be said to have done well to get anybody to stump up money for the Premier Calendar Series – although the announcement couldn't have come much later, the first race in the series, the Bikeline 2 Day (around the town of Hope in Flintshire) is this weekend.
If you can't be there you can catch the action on Eurosport the following weekend (details below although transmission times are provisional). Eurosport will also have coverage of three more rounds of the series: The Tour of the Reservoir, The Girvan Stage Race and the East Midlands Classics.
Race Date Event Provisional TX
14-15 March Bikeline 2 Day Hope 21 March at 17:15 CET
29 March Tour of the Reservoir 5 April at 17:00 CET
11-13 April Girvan Stage Race 19 April at 17:00 CET
26 April East Midlands Classics 3 May at 20:30 CET
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.