Thursday, April 26, 2018

News: Rotherham race team ready to roll at Tour de Yorkshire

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This year the Tour de Yorkshire will take in roads in Rotherham for the first time and the new Rotherham-based pro team, Holdsworth Racing, is gearing up for the high profile event having been confirmed as a competing team.

Rothbiz reported at the end of 2017 that Holdsworth, a prominent professional bike racing team of the 1970's, was being brought back to the circuit by Rotherham-based retailer, Planet X.

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.

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.

Dave Loughran, founder of Planet X, said in his blog: "It was hardly a closely guarded secret that we had set up the Holdsworth Pro Racing team with the ambition of getting accepted into the Tour of Yorkshire.

"What had started last September with a few bullet points on an A4 piece of paper, after a frenetic flurry of activity, we announced it all in mid-October only to realise we had no bikes, no designs, no vehicles, no staff, no UCI frame, no riders, no sponsors, in fact all we actually did have was an A4 piece of paper and a mission.

"We did receive a few comments that it was too late, couldn't be done in such a short period of time and the elder guard of the cycling world advising caution if not outright laughing at us. Six months later I am pretty proud to say, after a stupendous amount of work and huge amount of support from a lot of people we are ready to roll and putting rubber to road."

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The team is yet to confirm its riders for the Tour de Yorkshire, which takes place between May 3-6, but it is likely to include Rotherham racer, Russell Downing, who has moved to captain the new team following a stint with JLT–Condor. Russ' older brother, Dean, himself a former pro and British champion, is the team's performance coach.

Holdsworth will be up against more established UK teams and the big, well-funded and highly drilled foreign teams including Astana, Team Dimension Data and Team Sky. It has recently been announced that Rotherham's Ben Swift will ride the tour as part of the Great Britain Cycling Team.

The Holdsworth team is banking on home county support and Loughran added: "It took a couple of days to sink in, and after the initial meeting with staff, we got our race face on and buckled down to the task at hand and are going to give it our best."

Starting in Barnsley town centre for Stage 2 on May 4, 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.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "Having the best teams in the business coming to Yorkshire is a massive coup and we're delighted to have a record number of British-based teams pitting themselves against the world's finest riders.

"Teams want to compete at the Tour de Yorkshire as they know they will be guaranteed massive crowds, exciting racing and an electric atmosphere.

"Last year 2.2 million spectators lined the route and the fourth edition promises to be the biggest and best one yet."

Holdsworth website

Images: Holdsworth / Tour de Yorkshire

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