Rapha Condor-Sharp's 2012 line-up has been finalised following the announcement that Mike Cuming and Felix English are to join the team ahead of their assault on next season’s UCI Europe Tour.
The appointment of the two young riders is further proof of the shift in policy for the team, which now considers the development of young British riders as one of its key missions. It also means that Rapha Condor-Sharp will now have 14 riders on their roster in 2012, one more than this season. The boost in numbers in intended to increase consistency throughout the year and also enable more effective recovery time.
19-year-old English, who is from Ireland, shot to prominence last year when he defeated Sir Chris Hoy at the European Track Championships, in what was one of the biggest shocks of 2010. Cuming, from Stoke-on-Trent in England, signs from Twenty3-C Orbea and the 21-year-old is renowned as a strong climber, so both men will add balance to their new team.
“These two riders will be great additions to the team,” said team manager John Herety. “Felix English has already had a brief moment in the spotlight when turned heads by beating Sir Chris Hoy in the European Track Championships last year. He was only 18 at the time and for a rider who doesn’t consider himself a pure sprinter it was an amazing scalp. He showed there that he has the right attitude, and enough craft to be able to make the most of any opportunities presented to him, that is the type of raw intrinsic talent that we can definitely develop.
“Michael Cuming is another young rider we have identified as a talent. He was brought to our attention by Jon Tiernan-Locke who noticed Cuming during the last few Premier Calendars before the Tour of Britain, while JT was in pretty much the form of his life, Cuming was the only rider who could stay anywhere near him on the climbs. He has been with good teams in the past, in Raleigh and 3-C Orbea so he was an ideal candidate for our programme.
“Despite the relative youth as a team as a whole we still need to be able to go to races such as the Tour of Normandie and compete, also the cycling season also demands that we will have some other intense periods of racing. Part of the reason for expanding the numbers of riders (and keeping some of our older more experienced riders) is that we will have the manpower to race well throughout these periods.”
Full 2012 line-up for Rapha Condor-Sharp
(GBR unless stated)
Felix English (IRL)
Ben Grenda (AUS)
Christopher Jennings (RSA)
Richard Lang (AUS)