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Six of the 2013 Rapha Condor JLT squad are U23 riders
Clothing brand intends to support British road racing in other ways
While 2014 will be its last year, Rapha, which set up the team with London bike brand Condor in 2006, says it has increased investment to help build the squad up in the coming season and help the team find new backers for 2015 and beyond. Despite an apparent boom in cycling in Britain, the news of Rapha’s withdrawal comes after two UK teams folded after failing to find sponsors - Team UK Youth and IG-Sigma Sport.
Rapha’s CEO, Simon Mottram said that despite giving 16 months notice to find new sponsors, Rapha was still planning to support UK road racing.
"After eight years the cycling market and our business have changed and we have decided that having a UCI registered Continental Racing team is not the best way for Rapha to contribute to the UK racing scene,” he said.
"We are exploring other ways in which Rapha can usefully invest in UK Racing.”
Co-sponsors Condor and JLT are said to be committed to continuing the team in 2015 and beyond.
The team has been one of the most successful squads on the UK scene, winning 12 International UCI Race victories and numerous successes on the domestic calendar. Big wins include Kristian House's national Championship win in 2009, Chris Newton's Premier Calendar series success in 2010 and Mike Cuming's victory at the Tour of Korea in 2012. Ed Clancy, Olympic gold medallist has been on the squad since 2011.
Ahead of the 2012 season the team announced it was switching its focus away from a results-driven team to help develop talented young riders. The 2014 team has an 14-rider roster. Their season will begin in Australia in January at the Bay Crits in Melbourne, before the team returns to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour later in the month.