Following the announcement of Nottingham Building Society’s sponsorship of Raleigh GAC, team manager Cherie Pridham spoke to British Cycling of the team’s 2012 goals and its aim to reclaim the status of the iconic heron head badge.
“This was a nice surprise that we had such a big sponsor come on board with Team Raleigh GAC so early in the season” said Pridham. “With all the changes that have gone on with the team recently things are looking just fantastic for us and the sponsorship from a company as prominent as The Nottingham will I'm sure, help further our progression.”
Pridham went on to speak about her ambitions for the team and how a successful team is built. “The name of Raleigh was for many years an iconic name in cyclesport and the initial brief for us was to get that name back to that status, We know it will take a few years but the team work very closely with the Raleigh management and we are growing at our pace at the correct time. We have a fantastic bunch of riders with us this season, to build any team you make changes to make it stronger, you introduce not necessarily better riders but riders who have more experience. We are looking to progress the team together and we will build again for next season and the following season.”
The Raleigh team has been very active in the early season, putting in the miles both on the road and in the air, travelling as far as Mexico to give the team valuable international exposure.
“We have had a hectic travelling programme during the early part of the season and it has put us back on the map in the UCI races,” said Pridham. “We came away with four podiums from the Tour of Mexico and we had podiums recently at Tour Doon Hame and Drummond Trophy so things are going well for us.”
Pridham continued to outline the team’s 2012 priorities – “The Halfords Tour series is our biggest target of the year and of course, pending an invite, the Tour of Britain. We are focused now 100% on the Halfords Series and the riders have started to change their training to prepare for that.
“It’s going to be a tough series this time and there are a lot of races in a small time frame. We will be travelling on the road but we have strength in the team so we can bring riders into the races as and when we need them.”
Along with the Tour of Britain, the Tour Series has become one of the key opportunities for teams to get domestic TV coverage, a fact that makes presentation as important as preparation. “The series is a fantastic opportunity for us to get good TV exposure for Team Raleigh GAC and all our sponsors so we have to put our best team on the road," says Pridham. "Racing at the level we are now, presentation of the team is so important to us and our sponsors and obviously getting good results gets us in to bigger races which in turn is great for both the team and our sponsors and so leads to bigger races and so on.”