By Shane Stokes
Dan Lloyd and Dan Fleeman have both moved to the Cervélo Test Team after a season competing with the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly squad. It's a big jump up for the Britons, going from a Continental team to racing alongside the likes of Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and former green jersey Thor Hushovd. Still, as they told Cyclingnews at the recent team launch in Portugal, they are looking forward to the challenge.
"I am excited to be in it, to be part of something very new and innovative," said Lloyd. "I have done a lot of big races, but this is going to be a step up."
Fleeman is also very positive about the move. "It is really good, everybody is super friendly," he said. "There are no big egos; nobody puts themselves above anybody else. Carlos Sastre is just another guy on a bike, basically. There is no pecking order at all, it's really comfortable."
Lloyd has gathered some good results so far in his career, including second overall in the 2007 Tour of Qinghai Lake and a silver medal that year in the British road race championships behind David Millar. Now with a big team, the 28-year-old feels ready to push himself a little further.
"I would like to do a Grand Tour," he said. "The Vuelta or the Giro is more likely for this season, given that I haven't ridden a Grand Tour before. I hope to get to do one of those races this year and, if so, I will be in peak form for that. The aim would be to ride for the team, but I'd love to have one day of my own.
"The nationals are a big objective as well. I finished second behind David Millar in 2007 and was fourth last year. I was a bit disappointed at the end of that race; it's definitely something that I'd like to win. This year should see us having one of the strongest teams for that – there will be myself, Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond and Dan Fleeman. Two of those guys have won it twice each, so it's a very experienced squad."
Fleeman is 26 years old and a former British Under 23 champion. He won the Tour des Pyrénées last season, was seventh in the Tour of Britain and 13th in the Tour of Ireland. He also has certain ambitions laid out.
"What's good about this team is that I won't have to come in and just work [for others] the whole time," he said. "The goal is that I want to win short stage races; this year I was top ten in races like the Tour of Britain and just outside that in the Tour of Ireland. There is no reason at all why I can't win that level of race.
"On the other hand, I also want to ride a Grand Tour and support Carlos in the mountains. I'm pencilled in for the Giro [d'Italia] so we'll see how it goes."
He said that he has been working hard to get ready for what he hopes is a breakthrough season. Coached by Hunter Allen of Training Peaks.com, he has focused on intensity and also taken up core training for the first time. "Hunter has been giving me a specific programme. I have even been doing weight training and core stability work... It is the first time in my life that I have ever been to a gym so it is something new.