Pure Black Racing Team will make its debut next week at the Tour of Southland. The newly-formed New Zealand Continental-ranked team hopes that it is only the first step on the way to the Tour de France 2015.
The team is based on the former domestic team Bici Vida. It has 11 riders and after riding Southland, the Tour of Wellington and the New Zealand nationals, will head to the US. It will establish a base there and ride the National Racing Calendar circuit.
The team plans to establish itself this year and become a top NRC team in 2012. From there, the sky's the limit.
“On the five-year plan, it's two years in the States and three years in Europe. If we went to the States next year with the right team and were dominant straight away, then you could take the step to Pro-Continental and be in Europe in 2012. It's probably a 50/50 thing,” team founder Carl Williams told roadcycling.nz.
Last year, Southland was the first race for Bici Vida, and a very successful one. Tom Findlay, who is no longer with the team, finished third overall as best U23 rider, and the team finished second in the team rankings.
Williams is looking forward to going up against ProTour New Zealanders Greg Henderson and Hayden Roulston. “The stories and the lessons, and even the riding stay they bring to a race is so critical as a benchmark to us and what we are trying to achieve. We are looking forward to riding against them and catch up with them,” he told The Southland Times.
He also sees good chances for his young riders, saying “we've got a team that can ride cohesively as a unit and against a level of field which is obviously quite high.”
"To be honest we've come with quite a well-rounded team so we want to be represented at the front of the race, we've got Glen Chadwick on GC, so we'll be doing what we can to defend his position in the race. We've got some really talented young guys in Taylor Gunman, Shem Rodger and Roman van Uden, all under 23, so they'll be in the fight for the pink jersey," he said.
The Tour of Southland runs from November 1 to November 6, and features 19 teams with six riders each.