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Halfords announces sponsorship of British team

Nicole Cooke team leader

Team to support Cooke towards Beijing

Halfords, a UK-based automotive retail outlet which also sells bicycles and accessories, has announced that it will sponsor an entirely British professional cycling team. National Champion Nicole Cooke will lead the squad with the goal of giving her and the team the ideal performance environment, sufficient support, focus and UK based training to put them in top contention for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. 

The team, to be called Team Halfords Bikehut, will consist of 10 women riders but will also be supplemented by two top male riders Rob Hayles and Tom Southam, who will ride a full domestic season of British Premier Calendar and National Criterium Series events under the new team colours.

With Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling taking the reins as general manager, the innovative new approach is the first step on the road to a full British Professional Team.

He said: “Being able to work with a British Company on a project such as this in the run up to the Beijing Olympic Games presents not only the perfect performance environment for Nicole Cooke and her team mates but is also a fantastic commercial opportunity for British Cycling to work with a company whose heritage in the sport and accessibility in the British market will enable us to grow what we hope will be a successful and productive partnership in years to come.

Nicole, who went to Beijing in early December to ride the Olympic course on her new Boardman bike is just as excited about the opportunity. “It’s absolutely fantastic. This will be the first ever [fully*] British professional women’s team and I believe it’s the biggest step forward in women’s sport in this country for many, many years.

The unique deal between British Cycling and the UK’s leading cycle retailer will see the team riding bikes designed by Olympic champion Chris Boardman MBE. The range of bikes were launched last year in a joint venture between Halfords and Boardman and the team will ride the bikes which are already on sale in Halfords Bikehut stores around the UK.

Nicole Cooke wins Geelong World Cup, 2007 (click to enlarge)

* Note - FBUK, now Swift Racing was the first British professional team. Its squad included riders from several nations.


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