Mountains Jersey for Raleigh in Majorca

The British team with an international line up, Team Raleigh, came away from their third UCI race of the season with their first overall Jersey when 20 year old Richard Handley won the mountains jersey for the UCI event, Cinturon Ciclista.

“We went there with hopeful ambitions of going for  a top 10 or top 15 place on the GC” explained team manager Cherie Pridham. “We certainly feel we have the riders for that and things were going our way until young Richard Handley had a mechanical right at the wrong time on stage 2.”

“We managed to get to him with the team car but by that stage, a break had gone in the group and chasing back on the Puig Major was not ideal. We had Liam in the front group and Jamie had been in the break all day but still we ended up with not  a great stage 2.”

With a good overall placing not looking likely for Raleigh, the team had a team meeting that night to form the strategy from that point onwards. “We sent them out to be aggressive and that is exactly what they were“ says Cherie. “On stage 3, they attacked the race full on and we got riders in every single move.  Richard Handley was first over the Valldemossa and Col de Soller climbs ably supported by Jamie (Sparling) and Liam (Holohan) who was having a fantastically consistent Tour.”

“Ryan (Parnes) set them up at the bottom and off Richard went and at the end of the stage, we had the Mountains jersey.”

The team knew that it wasn’t all over with one stage to go, and with two KOM climbs on stage 4, they had to be vigilant. Yet again, they set out to be aggressive and so they went on the attack and the first serious attack had Team Raleigh riders Matt Jones and James Sparling in it.

Going at kilometre 8, the two Raleigh riders were out front all day in the longest break of the race. “Unfortunately the boys in the break were not getting frequent time checks and the lack of radios didn’t help their cause“ says Cherie. “The time gaps were going up and down and at one point, we thought they could make it.”

It wasn’t to be the stage for Raleigh as the break was caught with six kilometres to go but they had sealed the KOM jersey with Raleigh riders taking the maximum points on the day’s two KOM climbs to protect Handley’s jersey.

“It was a good Tour for Team Raleigh“ says Cherie. “We desperately wanted to come out of the race with something and the KOM jersey certainly justified sending the team there as we came away with Team Raleigh‘s first overall jersey.”

The Raleigh team, has started the season with a near clean slate with many new riders coming into the squad and a two week training camp in Majorca saw them gel in what Cherie described as her best training camp as far as team work goes. They feel they were unlucky not to win the Eddie Soens Classic but with seven or eight wins already, Cherie feels the team are working well together ahead of their biggest challenges in 2011.

Next up for the team is the TESCO Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic where the team will be Richard Handley, Jamie Sparling, Liam Holohan, Ryan Parnes, Phil Mooney and Dan Fleeman.

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