British based bicycle manufacturer Raleigh is set for a dramatic comeback to the world of European racing. The iconic cycle brand has announced its return to professional cycling sponsorship, and will launch a racing team called Team Raleigh next year.
The team has high ambitions, with the goal of competing in the Tour de France in five years time, and it has applied for UCI Continental status.
Initially Raleigh will target the UK based races such as the Premier Calendar, Tour series and Elite criteriums in its first season, as well as aiming to secure invitations to the 2010 Tours of Britain and Ireland.
The squad said in a press release this week: "Raleigh aim to re-establish themselves at the very height of professional road racing again, 30 years after their 1980 Tour de France win, thus uniting their marketing and global range strategy, with an ambitious five-year plan.”
The Nottingham-based manufacturer was a force in the professional peloton during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and their TI-Raleigh squad secured victories in the World Championships in 78 and 79 and the Tour de France in 1980.
Following this announcement, Raleigh will unveil a series of co-sponsors and a rider roster soon. The team will be managed by Chris Truett, the current director of Team Kinesis UK.