Mark Christian 19th in Stage Three Tumble showdown 

Mark Christian was Raleigh-GAC’s top finisher on Stage 3 of the Tour of Britain, coming home in 19th place, but it was Yanto Barker’s presence in the break that got the Raleigh-GAC team in front of the cameras once again.

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The break went shortly after the start in Newtown, Mid Wales and gave Barker and his breakaway companions the chance to establish a lead of over two and half minutes.

The break held until the outskirts of Abergavenny before the fireworks on the final climb.

Rising 500m in just 6km, the Tumble is one of the most feared climbs in the UK and is so often the feature of UK road races, which gives our home grown riders the opportunity to know it back to front.

Mark Christian flanked Matthieu Boulo for the climb and both were with the lead group as the climb approached but a badly-timed puncture at the foot of the Tumble put Boulo out of contention.

It was left to Mark Christian to take up the mantle and as the lead group fragmented on the steep slopes the Manx man clawed his way into 19th place giving Raleigh-GAC a top 20 position for the first three days of the Tour.

After finishing in 19th place Mark Christian now holds 19th place in the overall leaderboard too.

Team Manager Cherie Pridham. “Another solid day today and I’m pretty happy with what we’ve achieved so far.

“The day started off well with Yanto making a 155km break. Then the boys did a solid job delivering Matt and Mark to the Tumble. Mark beat some big names home to finish 19th. It was bad luck for Matt to puncture just before the climb but he still made it home just over a minute behind the lead rider to come home in the top 25. Without the puncture I’m sure we’d be looking at another high placing for Matthieu.

“Tomorrow is more of a transition stage before some hard climbs in Exeter (Stage 5). Still, climbs like Snows Hill and Bridge Valley Road tomorrow won’t make it an easy day. We’ll be prepared for all occasions, pushing for the opportunities and riding positively as we have been so far.

“We’ve had riders active in breaks and riders consecutively finishing in the top 20 of one of the top 10 stage races in the world every single day. We’re certainly taking on the race.

“There’s a long way to go yet though with some hard stages and a time trial so there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Overall Raleigh-GAC placings after Stage 3

  • Mark Christian 19th @ 1m 02s
  • Matthieu Boulo 24th @ 1m 23s
  • George Atkins 45th @ 3m 44s
  • Morgan Kneisky 53rd @ 5m 54s
  • Ian Wilkinson 63rd @ 7m 07s
  • Yanto Barker 99th @ 12m 13s
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Boulo home in 18th to maintain GC Top 20

After stage 2 of the Tour of Britain it is Raleigh-GAC’s French rider Matthieu Boulo who is the lead rider on the road. Boulo finished 18th on today’s stage between Knowsley Safari Park and Llandudno, on the same time as Tyler Farrar in 8th place and just 10 seconds off the overall lead of Mark Renshaw.

Also finishing on the same time as Boulo today were his team mates Mark Christian (38th), Morgan Kneisky (45th) and Ian Wilkinson (52nd). 

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Mark Christian on his customised Isle of Man Militis road bike

With the Queen Stage coming up tomorrow between Newtown and The Tumble there’s all to play for on the steep climbs of mid Wales.

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Tour of Britain Stage 1: Three riders in top 25 give Raleigh-GAC 2nd place in Team competition

Day 1 of the 2014 Tour of Britain and it certainly didn’t disappoint. A strong showing in the Team standings and riders well placed in the General Classification give Raleigh-GAC an excellent start.

 

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The six riders chosen for Raleigh-GAC were introduced to the crowds in their new Tour of Britain kit before Team Manager Cherie Pridham outlined the plans for the day

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With Liverpool bathed in sunshine and thousands of fans lining the street for the 8-lap circuit race, there was action from the gun in the city centre criterium.

The day’s early break allowed plenty of TV air time for the Raleigh-GAC team until a mechanical problem called the team car mechanic into action and forced the rider back to the bunch.

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From thereon in the peleton allowed the break to remain clear until the final lap.

That’s when the pace picked up furiously as all 20 teams seemed to be trying to organise their lead out trains. Except no one team was able to take control so the head of the race became a rotating, disorganised mass of riders. 

Into the final kilometre Ian Wilkinson was ducking and diving and placing himself well to secure a solid result until his luck ran out and he too became boxed in with nowhere to go. Instead it was Yanto Barker and Morgan Kneisky who were separated by half a wheel in 15th and 17th with Wilkinson finishing 25th.

The points for those positions gave Raleigh-GAC second place in the Team competition, one point away from leading the Team standings.

Team Manager Eddie White: “It was that fast and that hard coming into the finish that it became a dangerous place to be. So I think we produced a fantastic result to keep three guys up there challenging to the finish.

“With the way the lads are riding I’ve every confidence that we’ll be seeing plenty more of Raleigh-GAC in front of the cameras.”

Tomorrow’s stage takes the riders from Knowsley Safari Park to Llandudno, finishing on the seafront after what promises to be stunning coastal climb around the Great Orme. 

 

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Raleigh-GAC team announced for Tour of Britain

Team Manager Cherie Pridham today announced the six riders who’ll line up for Raleigh-GAC in Liverpool at the start of this year’s Tour of Britain.

A mix of fast circuit race stages, tough mountainous stages and challenging rolling stages, will keep Yanto Barker, Ian Wilkinson, Matthieu Boulo, Morgan Kneisky, Mark Christian and George Atkins on their toes for the 8 days of the Tour, which starts in Liverpool on Sunday 7th September.

Team Raleigh

“This year’s team is the most rounded we’ve ever had and in terms of our back room support, we’re more dialed than we have been for any previous of our Tour of Britain races,” said Pridham.

“That said, this year the Tour is a HC event and with that comes and increase in publicity and live television coverage so everyone will be looking for their five minutes of fame.”

As a Continental team facing the might of World Tour teams, Raleigh-GAC will be looking to exploit opportunities to that materialize on the road.

“Several riders have stated personal objectives that they want to fulfill and they fit well with the team objectives too.

“We’ll be playing to our strengths and looking to take every opportunity to find a break that sticks, place well in the points competitions or finish well overall.

“After this summer’s events [Tour de France and Commonwealth Games] we’re really excited to see what kind of crowds are coming out. Being involved in such a high profile race is a tantalizing prospect for riders and staff and sponsors too.”

With Stage 1 and Stage 8 effectively running as town centre criteriums, the staple diet of British racing teams, Raleigh-GAC has plenty of experience in this area.

But with Yanto Barker picking up the Elite Men’s Road Race title last week too, Raleigh-GAC are more than capable of performing well in road races on our UK roads.

“We have a team capable of delivering something on every stage in this race, whether that be a result or significant media exposure. We certainly have the legs, we just need the luck.” 

Tour of Britain map

The stages will be shown live on ITV4 with evening highlights.

You can catch the Tour at these locations

Sunday September 7
Stage one: Liverpool city centre circuit, 130km

Monday September 8
Stage two: Knowsley to Llandudno, 197km

Tuesday September 9
Stage three: Newtown to the Tumble, 150km

Wednesday September 10
Stage four: Worcester to Bristol, 182km

Thursday September 11
Stage five: Exmouth to Exeter, 171km

Friday September 12
Stage six: Bath to Hemel Hempstead, 203km

Saturday September 13
Stage seven: Camberley to Brighton, 220km

Sunday September 14
Stage eight: The London stage: 8a time trial, 8.8km; 8b circuit race, 88.8km

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Elite Road Series victory for Yanto Barker caps successful weekend for Raleigh-GAC

With fourth place in Sunday’s Ipswich and Coastal Grand Prix, Team Raleigh-GAC’s Yanto Barker secured the British Cycling Elite Road Series title and along with it, helped Raleigh-GAC claim the Team prize in the same series.

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Going into the final round Barker led Velosure-Giordana’s Marcin Bialoblocki by 21 points. With 30 points on offer for the victory, Barker needed to finish within 9 places of Bialoblocki to claim the title.

However, with Raleigh-GAC also aiming to secure the team competition, the series was far from a foregone conclusion.

An early escape posed no threat to Raleigh-GAC’s standing in either competition and for much of the race it looked as though the break would succeed.

Into the closing stages of the 200km race the escapees began to tire and to neutralise further attacks the Raleigh-GAC team took the lead with Rapha to control the race.

With the bunch averaging 35mph to break was soon reeled in and with the main bunch all back together for the finish it came down to a bunch gallop.

Race winner Adam Blythe and second-placed Chris Opie stole a couple of metres on Barker at the line as he settled for 4th place, crucially 5 places ahead of Marcin Bialoblock to win the overall title.

With Evan Oliphant (8th), Morgan Kniesky (12th) and George Atkins (19th) all placing well, the team wrapped up the team competition too.

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See the full results on Velo UK’s website here.

Speaking after the race, Yanto Barker said: “The team did such an awesome job today. When a group of riders went up the road, we weren’t overly concerned that we weren’t represented because we had a plan and we stuck to it.

“With about 60k to go, the boys started riding and I said look, if you want to start riding then we’re going to have to go hard to get something out of this.

“Rapha were of the same view of us and we pretty much put all our resources into the chase. It was really good to be able to catch them because they were going so fast.

“We felt in control but never safe, when you’re doing 55kph it’s never safe and there are a lot of corners coming into town.

“Wilks (Ian Wilkinson) went the wrong side of the barriers with 400m to go and if that had been me, that could have been the whole series screwed so you never know.

“I’m really happy with the series win, it didn’t happen by accident, it’s being a lot of hard work and it’s been very carefully calculated and planned.”

Read the race report on British Cycling’s website here.

British Cycling domination

The win for Yanto Barker means Raleigh-GAC have taken three of the overall honours in British Cycling’s two race series this season.

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During July Alexandre Blain wrapped up the Elite Criterium Series. Now with Yanto Barker taking the overall title in Ipswich and Raleigh-GAC taking the overall team prize, it not only shows the individual strength but also the astute management provided by Team Principal Cherie Pridham.

“In both the Elite Crit Series and the Elite Road Series the lads have been tactically excellent, working in harmony as a team to achieve a common goal.

“The victories for both Yanto and Alex are incredibly well deserved but I’d like to dedicate the team award to the unsung heroes, both riders, backroom staff and sponsors, who’ve worked tirelessly for every victory this season.”

“Significant victories like these are the best rewards for our equipment sponsors including Raleigh, MOA, Uvex, iPro, SRAM, Motorex, Schwalbe, Look, Elite, Cole, FSA, Fizik, Motorex, Unior, Kinetik and Huub. This is all the proof you need that these products are used by the very best to achieve outstanding things.”

“This gives us a fantastic send-off for the Tour of Britain and we’ll look to build on that success with a strong showing in the UK’s biggest stage race.”

Newport Nocturne

A special mention must also go to Raleigh-GAC’s French star Matthieu Boulo. Not only was he an important part of the Ipswich GP team but the night before he took a solo victory Newport Nocturne, winning by over a minute.

The young Frenchman is no stranger to solo victories, having done the same at the Tour Series in Redditch earlier this season.

He won’t have ridden too many races where he wins his own body weight in beer though!

Tour of Britain

Coming up next for Raleigh-GAC is the Tour of Britain which starts in Liverpool on Sunday 7th September. The team will be announced later this week.

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Barker poised to claim British Cycling Elite Road Series 2014 title

Team Raleigh’s Yanto Barker is just one round away from securing the Elite Road Series title at the UCS Ipswich and Coastal GP this weekend.

Barker leads the series by 21 points over his nearest rival, Velosure-Giordana’s Marcin Bialoblocki, and returns to the Ipswich on Sunday 31st August attempting to repeat his success in 2013.

2014 British Cycling Elite Road Series individual standings

However, the race is by far a forgone conclusion as Bialoblocki and his team will be looking to isolate Barker and put 9 places between the first and second placed riders, giving Bialoblocki enough points to overhaul Barker’s lead.

And with an overall lead in the Team competition to protect, Team Raleigh will have their work cut out keeping NFTO and Madison at bay.

2014 British Cycling Elite Road Series team standings

The race starts at 10.30am on Sunday and the riders will face 200-kilometres of racing, starting in Ipswich city centre before heading east to Woodbridge, crossing the River Deban to join the coastal circuit through Alderton and Hollesley.

British Cycling Elite Road Series - Ipswich and Coastal Grand Prix - main course map - please click to enlarge

The peloton will tackle the main loop five times before returning to Ipswich for what promises to be a dramatic final sprint beside the city’s striking Neptune Marina.

Read more on the British Cycling website here.

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GAC announces new three-year partnership with Team Raleigh

GAC, the global logistics and shipping company, has today announced a new three-year partnership with Team Raleigh Professional Cycling Team and Cherie Pridham Racing.

The partnership sees co-naming rights once again shared between Raleigh and GAC resulting in the name, Team Raleigh-GAC, ahead of the Tour of Britain (7-14 September). The deal brings the GAC logo back to the front of the Raleigh team jersey and shorts. The sponsorship secures the team’s future at the elite level of cycle racing in the UK, an area the team has been dominant in since 2010.

Team Raleigh-GAC - CycloSail Challenge_credit Mark Lloyd Photography

To celebrate the deal, GAC brought together the cycling pedigree of Team Raleigh and the Sailing expertise of the Extreme Sailing SeriesTM, in which GAC have a competing team through its partnership with GAC Pindar, who are the official logistics provider to the series, to put on a first of its kind cycling-meets-sailing multi-sport challenge.

140821_ESSCardiff_GACChallenge_105 Five Extreme Sailing SeriesTM crews, including GAC Pindar, competed in the unique CycloSail challenge ahead of the Cardiff leg of the series. Team Raleigh-GAC cyclists Yanto Barker, Liam Stones, George Atkins, Ian Wilkinson and Evan Oliphant took to the water to experience professional sailing competition.

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Team Raleigh-GAC sprinter Yanto Barker said of the CycloSail race, “It was a great thrill to get out onto the water in the high speed Catamarans that they use in the Extreme Sailing Series. As a sprint cyclist, I’m used to speed on the bike, but it was a new experience for me to see the speed the GAC Pindar boat travels at out on the water.”

Team GAC Pindar eventually ran out winners after finishing third in the sailing section of the day and finishing first in the cycling section with a time of 17.23 seconds, led home by Team Raleigh’s Yanto Barker and GAC Pindar’s Hugh Styles. Gazprom Team Russia finished second, with RealTeam by RealStone and Groupama Sailing Team in joint third and JP Morgan BAR finishing fifth.

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View the CycloSail video here.

Sean Bradley, Group Marketing Director, GAC said:
“GAC has a global track record of building successful long-term business relationships over the past 50 years. We already handle global distribution for Raleigh’s bicycle and accessories divisions so we are proud to enhance our existing strong relationship with the Raleigh management team and to be involved in the exciting direction that Cherie is taking the team. Already iconic, already successful and we look to continued success on and off the cycle track.

“The CycloSail event was the perfect representation of the innovative thinking that GAC, Team Raleigh and Cherie Pridham Racing bring to the table in this partnership and it is a really exciting time for GAC to be involved with Team Raleigh ahead of the upcoming Tour of Britain.”

Team Manager, Cherie Pridham said:
“We have been consistently punching above our weight for the last few seasons and I’m very happy to have the support of such respected and internationally renowned companies like GAC and Raleigh Cycling.”

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“Together with supportive local sponsors in the East Midlands this gives us a firm platform on which to step up our activity and achieve our ambition of reaching the pinnacle of cycling once again.”

Raleigh Managing Director, Mark Gouldthorp said:
“I’m delighted to be supporting Cherie Pridham Racing for another three years. We have had a great relationship with Cherie over the past four years and she has been integral to our success and growth in that time.

“Having GAC on board adds another exciting angle to the partnership, and we look forward to developing our already strong relationship with them.”

Who are GAC?

GAC is a global provider of integrated shipping, logistics and marine services. Emphasizing world-class performance, a long-term approach, innovation, ethics and a strong human touch, GAC delivers a flexible and value-adding portfolio to help customers achieve their strategic goals.

Established since 1956, GAC employs over 10,000 people in more than 300 offices worldwide.

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