ONE Pro Cycling, a new British-based professional cycling team due to compete at International Cycling Union (UCI) Continental level, has been officially launched at a glittering ceremony here today.
The team, set up by England cricketer Matt Prior along with businessman Simon Chappell, are aiming high, setting their sights on competing at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in the future.
At their launch, ONE Pro Cycling announced fashion brand F&F, Tesco's branded clothing range, as their lead sponsor, and they also revealed an innovative membership scheme that is set to bring fans close to the team.
"Today's announcement is a landmark day for ONE Pro Cycling," Prior, the chief executive of the team, said.
"To have secured F&F as our lead partner is hugely exciting and testament to the collective ambition of the team.
"From our very first meetings we knew we were dealing with a like-minded brand with many shared values and goals.
"Our first year of operating is very much about establishing the team and ensuring we put in place a robust and sustainable business model."
F&F will be the official kit sponsor of the team, officially set-up December 2014, and they will also provide ONE Pro Cycling with training kit and clothing.
"As a professional athlete I recognise the importance of having the right support in place off the field, so we are very pleased to announce our list of official team partners and suppliers today," Prior, who has 79 Test caps for England, added.
"Their combined contribution will be invaluable to the team's success and we are very grateful for their support."
A key theme of the team revolves around the supporters, and they have a membership scheme in place which offers cycling fans the chance to contribute to its success.
Fans can sign up to the scheme, and in return they will receive various rewards, offers and discounts.
Although F&F are the team's lead partner, ONE Pro Cycling are not looking to have a title sponsor, something which is usually prevalent among other professional cycling companies.
"I come into this whole thing as a cycling fan," Prior said,
"We wanted to do something different and to give fans the chance to become associated with the brand, similar to what you see at football clubs.
"We will always be ONE Pro Cycling and I think that is extremely important for the future."
ONE Pro Cycling have steadily released a number of different sponsors over the last three months, and they have deals with lucrative names such as Continental, their official tyre sponsor, and Oakley will provide the team with eyewear.
The 12-man team, comprised of race captain Yanto Barker, George Atkins, Tom Baylis, Johnny Bellis, Marcin Bialoblocki, George Harper, Marc Hester, Josh Hunt, Jon Mould, Chris Opie, Pete Williams and Sam Williams, will be led by performance coach Steve Benton as well as sports director Matt Winston.
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