Today we’re continuing our look at the top teams you should be looking out for in 2019. This week we look at Team Wiggins Le Col and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK.
This is the third of a four-part series giving you a rundown of the UK’s top men’s teams this year.
Team Wiggins Le Col
Team Wiggins Le Col is a who’s who of U23 talent. It would be easy enough to leave it at that, but we can delve a bit deeper into who, exactly, is who.
Tom Pidcock. If you’re an U23 cyclocross rider on the world stage, his name alone might have you thinking of second place; he’s currently National, European, and World U23 champion, and won the U23 World Cup this winter. He’s no slouch on the road either, having taken the Junior Paris-Roubaix title in 2017, before winning the East Cleveland-Klondike GP in 2018 and taking victories and podiums in multiple National Circuit Races, including second in the National Championships. We can expect him to try to assert himself as a player on the main road stage this year.
Aside from Pidcock, the team is replete with National Champions and prolific winners. Gabriel Cullaigh is a late addition to the team, returning for another season with the team after winning the UCI ranked Rutland-Melton Internation CiCLE Classic in 2018 – probably the UK’s largest one day race barring the National Championships. Robert Scott is the reigning U23 National Road Race Champion and he’ll be flanked by James Fouché, National Champion of New Zealand, and Irish U23 Time Trial Champion, Michael O’Laughlin.
Lawrence Carpenter is worth a mention as well. He regularly finds himself in the right move at the big races on UK soil, and his results have been steadily improving as he gains more experience at international events. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his signing is the behind the scenes access his vlogs offer. Lawrence is an accomplished social media personality, in a way that many cyclists aren't. His following on YouTube and Instagram guarantees his new team a substantial reach among a new generation of cycling fans.
The Bradley Wiggins jiffy bag controversy has blown over and, while the team has decreased the size of its roster for 2019, we can expect to see plenty of results and positive news from the young team. Selection for the Tour of Britain and Tour de Yorkshire will be a priority, and ASO's tendency to snub the team may be brought into the spotlight if Team Wiggins Le Col has an impressive palmares yet again.
Manager: Andrew McQuaid
Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK
If the team’s name is a mouthful, it’s likely down to the value of title sponsorship in a time of plentiful social media coverage, but minimal screen time, something Cherie Pridham will be acutely aware of as Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK rises out of the ashes of the old Raleigh team.
Team Raleigh had grand ambitions: to ride the Tour de France within five years. That was back in 2011. Pridham deserves respect for managing a British registered UCI team for five years and spearheading the involvement of WiggleCRC in the men’s cycling scene in 2019, but the goalposts have moved, and this season will be about value for sponsors and developing young talent. Something that the ever involved Brother UK have spoken to VeloUK about recently.
The team goes into the season with a substantially stronger roster than 2018; the demise of JLT-Condor had left many of their riders as free agents, and Vitus have done well to pick up Ed Clancy, Graham Briggs, and Alistair Slater to bolster the core of the squad. Most cycling fans will recognise Clancy as a winner of multiple gold medals in the Olympic games and UCI Track World Championships, and on the domestic scene he is a force majeure in the Tour Series. The only question mark over Clancy’s head will be whether he intends to focus on the upcoming 2020 Olympic games or spend more time on the domestic scene.
Briggs is another constant in the British circuit, having spent the best part of two decades on the roads - he’ll be one to watch in the Tour Series and National Circuit Series. Nevertheless, he’ll be 36 this year and time is a cruel mistress, especially with regards to professional cyclists. Could Briggs and Clancy soon be stepping aside for a younger generation?
Speaking of which, Chris Latham is one to watch, having taken medals in World Track Championships as part of the GB Academy, and won the East Cleveland-Klondike GP in 2017. He’s only 25 and still has plenty to give. Michael Mottram leapt onto the scene last year by winning the early season Jock Wadley Memorial Road Race and he’ll be eager to prove his worth in a new team.
Lastly, Vitus added Scott Thwaites in a surprise signing at the end of January. Thwaites is a proven professional, having ridden for World Tour outfit Team Dimension Data for the past two seasons. As a former winner of the Premier Calendar, with strong performances in UCI ranked events against top flight opposition, Thwaites could prove to be a real coup for the dark horse that is Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK - expect to see much more of the team on the results sheets this year.
Manager: Cherie Pridham