The 2012 Binche-Tournai-Binche podium (L-R): Adrien Petit (Cofidis), 2nd; Adam Blythe (BMC), 1st; and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano), 3rd
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Links up with Sean Yates and Downing brothers
Russell Downing has welcomed the signing of Adam Blythe to the new NFTO team after the latter was released from BMC with one year remaining on his contract.
The NFTO team will be based in Hereford, England and have already announced that Russell Downing and his brother Dean will ride for the team, with Sky’s former directeur sportif also joining the management.
However the signing of Blythe represents a significant coup for the team.
The 24-year-old turned professional with Marc Sergeant’s Lotto squad in 2010 and became an instant hit with the team. He started the Giro in his debut season and won four races. In 2011 he became in integral part of Philippe Gilbert’s Classics squad and impressed enough that the Belgian brought him with to BMC at the start of 2012. This year Blythe has failed to repeat his previous exploits on the road, however Russell Downing believes that the former WorldTour rider can find his feet with the NFTO team.
“It’s amazing to get Adam on board. It’s going to be a great year on all fronts. He’s quite a unique rider and like me and my brother Dean he’s a pure bike racer, someone who just loves to get on their bike and race. Adam, I think, has seen the excitement we’ve got for the team,” Downing told Cyclingnews.
“Perhaps Adam is someone who like me in my career at times got lost in teams by just doing a job on the front. Adam, he wants to race his bike again and he’ll definitely be able to do that with us. I’d compare him with my second year at Team Sky where I was just doing work on the front and I just ended up losing myself a bit. BMC is a massive team with Gilbert, Hushovd and Van Avermaet and maybe Adam got a bit lost.”
The team are currently seeking a UCI Continental licence but will be looking to compete in both the United Kingdom and in the mainland Europe in 2014.
“It’s all early days but as an international team we’ll be riding international races. We’ve signed Sean Yates as a director and I think doors will start opening now in terms of race invitations. We’ll be UK-based so we’ll obviously have to support the UK scene like the Tour series but now we have to finalise a race programme that suits everyone.”
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