Each new year brings with it a new season and a host of new teams in the professional peloton. Some are changing their main sponsors, others are brand new to the sport but all share the same ambition and vision to succeed. The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
UK has always experienced a rocky road when it has come to professional cycling. During the 1980?s the sport flourished within its shores but this success never transferred to the continent. Many tried; ANC-Halfords actually started the Tour de France but the sugarcoating rapidly faded and the team collapsed amid a series of financial scandals. In more recent years the ill-fated Linda McCartney?s team graced the pro peloton for a number of years, signing such riders as Max Sciandri and Pascal Richard and even winning a stage of the Giro d?Italia with Australian David McKenzie although that too was doomed as the money dried up and new sponsors couldn?t be found. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
2005 will see the re-emergence of Professional cycling in
Britain through the conception of two new UCI Continental registered teams. The sport has never been so popular, largely due to the success of the countries track riders at the Athens Olympic Games. We caught up recently with James Louter, the Director Sportif of Team DFL, to discuss the new team.
Team DFL started its journey back in July this year when James and the teams Commercial Manager, Nick Collins, formed GB Procycling Ltd - a management company with the aim of developing a British professional cycling team. James explained that, ?with the success in the Olympics of the British track riders and the creation of the Tour of
Britain. It presented the best time for years, to get non-cycling companies involved with the sport.?
After numerous letters and phone calls, Driving Force Logistics were confirmed as the title sponsor for the new team. ?DFL are one of the UK's premier recruitment companies for specialist drivers, and they operate in
Europe which is where we want to take this team. So it?s not just the major UK calendar we are going to race, we will be heading into Europe looking to expose our riders and build a reputation as solid performing outfit.? Knowing mid-way through the year that a sponsor was in place to support the outfit has given Louter and Collins the luxury of not having to rush the development and establishment of the squad and its infrastructure. It has allowed them to ?shop? for the riders they wanted, the equipment necessary to support a professional team and also contact event organizers to confirm their 2005 race program.
The team is primarily made up of neo-pro riders of which the most experienced is Yanto Barker, winner of the Coup de France series in 2004. Barker has several years of international experience, which the team hopes he will be able to use to lead the other young riders throughout the campaign. Louter explained that the team?s ethos was based on providing a platform for young, talented and hard working riders to