After months in the planning the Storey Racing Team was finally announced at the Manchester Bike Expo on Saturday 18th March. Launched to be a new women’s team in the UK women’s peloton, the team will also look for UCI race opportunities for a talented rider roster that includes 7 riders from the 2016 Podium Ambition set-up.
Set-up and launched by Dame Sarah and Barney Storey the team have adopted an ethos that has seen the Storey’s so successful in their own careers. #BestVersionOfYou is a mantra that runs deep within the psyche of the team and will allow riders, staff, sponsors, supporters and fans to create their own best performances in whatever it is they are doing.
The team started the launch with a teaser to the BBC Sport Facebook followers with a Facebook Live from behind the scenes in the ready room which was backstage at the show. Reaching over 75,000 people with almost 50,000 views of their film, this set the team up well for what was unprecedented coverage of women’s cycling team launch. With several 100 people in attendance during the formal part of the stage presentation, the decision to keep the announcement under wraps was well worth it and the delight of the audience was quite tangible as the team spoke about their ambitions for the coming season and years ahead.
Barney and Sarah’s 3 year old daughter, who had requested to be present on stage, stole the show whilst proudly showing off one of her Mum’s Rio medals, and each of the sponsors were showcased in the popular presentation.
The riders were all announced individually on to the stage with the returning riders to the Storey’s set-up announced first. Not present due to competition duties in Mallorca, Neah Evans was the first to be announced, followed by Katie Prankerd and EJay Harris who rode at UCI level in 2016. Beth Crumpton, Monica Dew and Hannah Dines, were all part of the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club in 2016, with the former pair also gaining UCI experience at the Tour de Yorkshire and Hannah being part of the GB squad for the Rio Paralympic Games.
Five new faces followed with both Jen George and Laura Cameron joining from a year with UCI team Drops Cycling, Chanel Mason stepping up from the superb development that is going on with the Army Cycling team. Dannielle Khan continues to make her transition from sprinting in to endurance whilst the final rider is 1st year Junior Mercy Webb.
Supporting the team on the sponsorship front are a core of brands who have worked with the Storey’s previously. adidas Eyewear, KASK helmets, Boardman bikes, Infocrank power meters, Secret Training, HMT Hospitals, Schwalbe tyres and Revolver Disc all remain loyal supporters whilst new names are added in the form of Le Col for the bike clothing, Manchester Fashion Institute for the leisurewear, Veloforte 100% natural energy bars and On The Rivet chamois cream.
Speaking of the set-up Barney said, “We are delighted to have been able to pull together a roster of riders and sponsors that is of equal high standard. The riders are all motivated to get going and with such a mass of talent there will be some tough selections to make for the races with only 5 or 6 riders allowed in the team. Our sponsors are keen to see us grow and develop and we certainly have the ambition to move up the ranks and become a UCI Team in the future.”
Dame Sarah Storey will be a key figure for the riders as they are look to her for the experience she has and she knows better than anyone the challenges faced by female riders in the UK. “We have a mass of talent which deserves the right platform to progress and we hope we will be able to support that with out new team. Racing in the UK is gradually moving towards the types of races found in the UCI calendar with events like Curlew Cup, Tour of the Wolds, Lincoln GP and Cicle Classic all creating challenges routes for riders to test themselves. So far there hasn’t been the same concerted drive to produce a superteam of British talent that can dominate in the UCI Women’s World Tour and we believe it’s possible to create this over the next 2 Olympic cycles.”