Thursday, December 7, 2017

News: Holdsworth returning to racing

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Holdsworth, a prominent professional bike racing team of the 1970's, is being brought back to the circuit by Rotherham-based retailer, Planet X, and it has been given a distinctly South Yorkshire flavour.

Planet X specialises in time trial, road, track and fixed wheel bikes along with mountain bikes under the On One brand. They relocated to new premises at the Ignite development in Templeborough in 2009 and also has warehouse space at Aldwarke.

Founded by keen triathlete Dave Loughran (pictured above) in the 1990's, Planet X is now the largest builder of high performance bikes in the UK, designing and selling under various brands. It acquired the respected Holdsworth brand in 2013, resurrecting it in 2015 by manufacturing speciality lightweight bikes in the UK.

Now plans are being finalised to relaunch the famous orange and blue professional team in 2018.

Recently announced is the capture of Rotherham racer, Russell Downing to captain the team following a stint with JLT–Condor. Russ, who won the Tour of Ireland in 2008 and became the first Briton to win a stage for Team Sky in 2010, will join with his older brother, Dean, another former pro and British champion, who is the team's performance coach.

Another rider is Jake Womersley from Mirfield in West Yorkshire, said to be a great prospect in his own right, and is the grandson of Brian Robinson, the first British winner of a stage in the Tour de France. Tom and Leon Mazzone, pros from the Isle of Man, will also be joining the team alongside four Irish riders - Conn McDunphy, Sean McKenna, Damien Shaw and Dermot Turlock. Seid Lizde, an Italian professional, is the latest signing.

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The Holdsworth Pro Racing Team will be managed by Sheffield's Malcolm Elliott, a prodigious race winner in a long career that included being the first British cyclist to win the points title in a Grand Tour, which Elliott achieved in the 1988 Vuelta a Espana.

Elliott (pictured below, left) said: "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of working with the guys, and with the Holdsworth brand. The first bike I raced on as a teenager was a Holdsworth Professional. And being from Sheffield I really like the Yorkshire connection the team has, and the fact that there are so many people I know involved with it. Going forward I hope I can help the team reach its full potential."

The team, which is set to operate at the UCI Continental level, will help promote the Holdsworth brand and Planet X will hope to boost sales of its bikes that are designed and built "to ignite the imagination of the both new and old Holdsworth fans."

Originally formed in 1968, the team was paired with Campagnolo as a co-sponsor and went on to dominate the UK scene and even take teams to famous races on the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix.

Members of the team recently attended the launch of the route for the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire, an event where Holdsworth will be hoping for a sought after team entry.

Next year the Tour de Yorkshire will take in roads in Rotherham for the first time. Starting in Barnsley town centre for Stage 2, riders will race through the picturesque village of Wentworth before a designated sprint at Swinton. The route continues past Kilnhurst and Hooton Roberts before taking in Conisbrough Castle. Passing Mexbrough, the riders then head North to the finish in Ilkely.

Holdsworth website
Planet X website

Images: Simon Wilkinson / Holdsworth / twitter

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