Before pulling the plug on its MTB race team in 2001, Raleigh had a 110 year pedigree of sponsoring bike whippets. Sponsorship of the Diamondback team fizzled out in 2002. Now the company has returned to is roots and is sponsoring an 11-strong team.

Raleigh returns to team sponsorship

It’s the Raleigh-ERV women’s professional cycling team. MTB mostly for now.

The Raleigh UK sponsorship agreement will provide the team with products from Raleigh’s P&A line-up: Maxxis tyres, Crank Brothers pedals, Lake shoes, Axo apparel and Uvex helmets and sunglasses. The team will also use Magura forks and brakes, FSA and USE components, wheelsets from Cole Products of the US. Nosh will be provided by Jordans cereals (the company owner is a triathlete).

The team will contest all the European World Cup rounds as well as the National Premier Series of UK MTB events.

The riders have been equipped with white Raleigh Airlite Team Issue bikes with the distinctive red, blue and yellow bands synonymous with the Raleigh race teams of the 1980s.

Captained by seasoned campaigner Michelle Bergstrand, the team includes World Class Performance Plan rider Sophie Johnson, former national junior champion Hazel Wakefield, Irish international Beth McCluskey and Scottish riders Ruth McGavigan and Caroline Wallace.

The other team signings are: Jenny Middlehurst who will concentrate on track racing; enduro specialist Nicola McLeod; and Caroline Jackson who will travel from Australia for the summer season.

The team will be out in strength at Round 1 of the National Premier Series in Plymouth on April 16th.

The last time Raleigh sponsored a team, the annual budget was in excess of £150 000 a year. No financial details are being disclosed about the current deal.

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