Cherie Pridham, the owner and manager of Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK has vowed that her team will give everything in its bid to qualify for this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
The Derby-based squad will be one of six British-registered UCI Continental teams battling for just four places in the national tour, which will be held from September 7 to 14, 2019.
With eight days of national television coverage on offer, and huge crowds at the roadside to greet every stage, the race offers a valuable shop window to the team’s sponsors and a showcase for its riders.
“The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is unquestionably a priority for Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK,” Pridham said. “My guys will give everything in the battle for qualification.”
She continued: “I’ve managed teams in the race several times, and many of the riders we recruited for 2019 have also experienced this unique event. For all of us, qualification for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is a challenge to embrace and to inspire, throughout the course of a long season.”
The first of fourteen qualifying events will be held next weekend. Pridham and her team will travel to East Cleveland on Sunday April 14, to compete in the Klondike GP, the opening round of the HSBC UK National Road Series. Results from a further seven rounds of the series, including established races like the Beaumont Trophy and new events such as the South Coast Classic, will also count.
In addition, points scored at the National Championships road race on June 30 and the overall individual standings from the National Circuit Series will be considered, alongside results from the two most significant UCI races on home soil for British-registered UCI Continental teams – the 1.2-classified Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic and the 2.HC-classified Tour de Yorkshire.
OVO Energy Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot Group have worked with British Cycling and all six British-registered UCI Continental teams to devise the qualifying process. The company relaunched the Tour of Britain in 2004 after a five-year absence.
The race has since gone for strength-to-strength, and now occupies a crucial slot on the international race calendar, making it ideal preparation for the UCI World Championships. The OVO Energy Tour of Britain now routinely attracts riders hoping to win the rainbow jersey a week later, allowing teams like Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK to ride against the world’s best.
“Naturally, we’re seeking to win as many races as possible this season, but qualification for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is an added incentive,” Pridham continued. “The challenge of testing ourselves against the sport’s biggest teams and most accomplished riders is one we’d be delighted to accept.”
Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK has been significantly strengthened with a number of key signings in the closed season. Triple Olympic champion Ed Clancy OBE, Grand Tour rider Scott Thwaites and Commonwealth Games medallist Chris Latham have been added to the squad, alongside former British circuit race champion Graham Briggs, who first raced for Pridham in 2012 and 2013, when her team was called Raleigh-GAC.
The aforementioned trio represents only a third of the nine new signings made by Pridham in the off-season, which include Dylan Kerfoot-Robson, the multiple elite road and mountain bike champion of Wales, and British Cycling Olympic Academy graduates, Ali Slater and Joe Holt.
Rising stars Fred Scheske and Red Walters, and Mikey Mottram, a former elite rower already making an impact in cycling, have also been added to the squad. Additionally, Pridham retained young riders Tim Torrie and Liam Davies from her 2018 squad, as well as former British hill climb champion Adam Kenway.
“I’m very pleased by the signings we’ve made, and delighted to have retained Adam, Liam and Tim from last season. We now have a squad with a mix of youth and experience, proven winners and rising stars. I’m already convinced that this team would be an asset to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain. Now it’s up to us to prove it.”
The 2019 edition of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will start on Saturday September 7, 2019. The route will be announced next month.