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Alexandre Blain winning the 2012 UCI 1.2 Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic
Squad strengthened with nine new signings
After a successful 2012, Team Raleigh has undergone a significant rebuild as part of its planned progression, bringing in a number of very strong and experienced riders to complete a formidable line up for 2013.
Former British National Circuit Race Champion Graham Briggs, along with 2012 National Road Race Bronze medallist Russell Hampton and Scottish hard man and Commonwealth Games rider Evan Oliphant will return to the squad. Eighteen-year-old Matt Holmes, silver medal winner in the British National Under 23 Road Race Championship is also back.
New riders include Frenchman Alexandre Blain, Australians Richard Lang, Lachlan Norris, Sam Witmitz and Mark O'Brien, Canadian Rob Britton, Tom Scully from New Zealand and two more British riders, Tom Moses and Mark Christian.
Blain, 31, makes the move from the Endura racing team, and he brings a wealth of experience to the team and his impressive palmarès includes winning the Tour de Normandy in 2011. His 2012 victories include the UCI 1.2 Rutland Melton Classic and the Maldon-Dengie Tour. He also came 3rd overall in the Mi-Aout Bretonne.
Witmitz, 27, from Victoria, Australia, is a lead-out and sprint specialist. He won three rounds of the 2012 Australian National Series races and recently won the sprint competition jersey overall in New Zealand's Tour Of Southland.
Lang, 23, from Sydney, Australia, joins the Raleigh line up from Rapha. He is a strong sprinter a previous winner of Australia's classic Goldburn to Sydney race. In 2012, he won the Beverly Elite Crit and the Newcastle Leazes Crit.
Norris, 25, from Victoria, Australia, recently won the 2012 Tour of Tasmania overall, including a stage win and the KOM competition. In 2011, he rode as a stagiere for HTC-Highroad and took fourth overall in the Tour of Taiwan and fifthin the Australian Road Championship.
O'Brien, 25, also hails from Victoria, Australia and is a very strong climber, GC specialist and major signing for Raleigh. His palmarès includes second overall in Tour of Tasmania 2012, first in the GC Tour of Mersey Valley, first in the GC North Western Tour, first in the GC Tour of Toowoomba, first in the GC Tour of the South West and second in the Oceania Championship in New Zealand.
Britton, 27, from Victoria in Canada, is an all-round strong man, proven climber and TT specialist. After coming 10th overall in the Tour de Beauce and 23rd in the Tour of California (World Tour), he will provide a big engine to drive the team along.
Scully, 23, from New Zealand is a talented young rider rode for Chipotle-First Solar Development Team and more recently with Garmin-Sharp as a stagiere. He already has an enviable palmarès with third in the 2012 Paris- Roubaix under 23, winner of the sprints ace Jersey and fourth overall in Singapore Crit 2012, third in the Tour de Normandy Prologue 2012, five-time UCI World Cup track medallist (2010-2012) and five-time New Zealand Elite National Track Champion (2008-2012).
Moses, 20, has spent the last two years with the GB Olympic Academy team. During this period he has been riding in UCI stage races in Europe, mostly in support of team members. With Team Raleigh, he should now have the opportunity to find his full potential. A very versatile rider, Tom was the British National Junior Cyclo-Cross Champion in 2009.
Christian, 22, comes from Douglas on the Isle of Man. Mark joins Team Raleigh from Sean Kelly's An Post Team and is an accomplished road rider with good solid results in Europe during 2012. He is a very fast finisher both on the road and on the track. He came third in the Delhi Commonwealth Games Points race and has picked up medals in scratch, points, individual and team pursuit races at National and European Championships, World Cup races and Commonwealth Games and is current British National Madison Champion 2012.
Team Manager Cherie Pridham said, "We are very pleased with the team line-up for 2013. Our aims are clear for the coming season - Tour Series, Premier Calendar and Elite Crit Series."
"It is important for the Raleigh brand that we show our dominance in the UK, but I believe we have the strength and depth in the team to raise our game in Europe, too. With our new and experienced signings we are certainly looking forward to our European campaign and we will continue to race as far a field as Mexico, Canada and the US."
Team Raleigh 2013 will be launched officially in January at Raleigh Headquarters in Eastwood, Nottingham. The team will then head out to its training camp in Mallorca, followed by the first race of 2013 in France in early February.