Team IG-Sigma Sport unveiled their squad for 2012 at the IG Markets HQ in London today, with new signing Dan Lloyd taking centre stage.
Lloyd joins the British Continental outfit after three years with World Tour teams, initially with Cervelo Test Team and latterly with Garmin-Cervelo.
He joins another new signing, 29-year-old Namibian Dan Craven, who arrives fresh from a three year stint with Rapha Condor Sharp.
Elsewhere on the 12-man roster is GB track cyclist Steven Burke, absent from proceedings as he prepares for this weekend's World Cup round at the new London Olympic velodrome. The line-up is completed by Simon Richardson, Tom Murray, Steve Lampier, Tom Last, Simon Gaywood, Wouter Sybrandy, Jake Hales, Peter Hawkins and Andrew Griffith.
The team, formerly known as Sigma Sport-Specialized, brings IG Markets onboard as a title sponsor for 2012. The financial trading company entered the pro cycling world last year with links to Team Sky, The Tour of Britain, RIDE24 and the London Nocturne, and they see this two-year deal as a natural progression in their association with the sport. Specialized have taken a step back, but will still provide bikes in the shape of the Tarmac SL4. Other equipment suppliers include Campagnolo, who provide the mechanical Super Record groupset, and 3T.
Lloyd, 31, thought he was heading for retirement after his contract ended at Garmin Cervelo but told BikeRadar it didn't take much persuasion from Sigma Sport co-owner and close friend Ian Whittingham to put pen to paper. "So many former riders say you should race for as long as you might regret not going on a little longer. So I heeded their advice," he said. "And it's a team that looks like it's going places."
He's thankful for his time racing at the highest level, but with the chance to do so arriving later on in his career, stepping down to Continental level with IG-Sigma Sport isn't the huge grind some may think.
"It's not quite so much the level of the team that's the difference, rather more the level of racing," he said. "Sometimes all those big teams can look very rosy from the outside but when you're on the inside they make the same mistakes as everyone else. I spent a long time in teams like this before my opportunity at Cervelo. It's nice because you get to know all the riders well, because the team's that much smaller."
Given his initial intentions following the end of last season, he says he'll need time to get himself ready for racing again. "I stopped riding a bike for a long time, so it's going to take my a while to get back into my best shape. But it's good that it fits into the team's objectives and my objectives, with the Tour of Britain and nationals coming much later in the season."
His new teammate Craven, who was rapidly acclimatising to the chilly London elements having arrived from his homeland just 24 hours earlier, had another reason to believe he's chosen the right team - the buccaneering racing style of the old Sigma Sport team, and manager Matt Stephens. His successful spell at RCS ended at the turn of the year following the decision to turn it into a developmental squad, but Craven believes the racing ethos of his new team manager is a better fit for him than the conservative style of his old boss, John Herety.
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