Team News: Raleigh-GAC look back at 2012

Britain’s international Raleigh-GAC team look back at a successful 2012 on the roads here and abroad

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The Raleigh-GAC team write … Wow, what a year! 2012 was the year Team Raleigh-GAC stepped up massively, becoming a force to be reckoned with thanks to over 20 winning performances and hours of TV coverage.

Back in January, our new signings like National Criterium Champion Graham Briggs, Aussie sprinter Bernie Sulzberger and promising new youngster Tour of Britain runner-up Matt Holmes had a lot to prove.

After February’s tough team training camp in a wintery Majorca, the Team’s first notable result was a team win and a third place for Jamie Sparling in the Severn Bridge road race in Gloucestershire. This was followed by several other early season domestic podium places such as Simon Holt’s first place at Castle Combe in Wiltshire and second place at Hog Hill in Essex.

Whilst these domestic races are important, it wasn’t until the UCI 2.2 Vuelta Mexico 8-day stage race in March that the team got to test themselves against the world’s best. Raleigh-GAC more than held their own in the high South American mountains with a win and a second place for Dan Holloway plus a brace of thirds for Tobyn Horton and Evan Oliphant.

Back in the UK, Team Raleigh-GAC found themselves on the podium in a succession of more important Premier Calendar and UCI races such as DoonHame in Scotland (second and third) and Rutland-Melton (second and winner of the King of the Mountains classification); the latter earning media column inches for Jamie Sparling’s brave riding in atrocious weather conditions.

Dan Holloway and Jamie Sparling at DoonHame in April

More domestic results followed during May with wins for Graham Briggs in Suffolk, Russell Hampton in the ECCA Championships in Essex and at the Hillingdon GP in London, Matt Holmes in Loughborough and Jeroen Janssen in the IG Markets folding bike invitation race in London.

On the back of these wins, Raleigh-GAC entered the Tour Series brimming with confidence. The six team members competing for Raleigh in the 11 rounds of televised racing were up against some of the top continental riders including former Tour de France stage winner Magnus Backstedt and Olympic track champion Ed Clancy.

Raleigh were never far away from the television cameras or the podium over those five weeks. Bernie Sulzberger won the sprinter’s yellow jersey, topping the Sprinter’s leaderboard for nine of the 11 rounds and winning the final stage in Stoke-on-Trent.

Bernie Sulzberger in the Tour Series.

Graham Briggs also won in round 9 and always seemed to be animating the race when the cameras were rolling, much to the joy of the team sponsors. The first Tour Series team win came on round 6 in Peterborough when Raleigh-GAC had the highest placed top ten finishers, helping them achieve fourth place team at the end of the Series.

Once the confidence levels were up, there was no stopping the boys. They showed no fear in mixing it with Elite teams, such as at the British National Championships, where Russell Hampton was beaten to the Gold by two Team Sky riders, or the UCI 2.2 Tour de Beauce in Canada where Jamie Sparling, Russell Hampton and Liam Holohan were constantly in the breaks.

Throughout the summer months, the team were also dominant on the Elite Crit UK circuit, with Graham Briggs coming first at Brighouse, Stafford, Stockton, Abergavenny and Sheffield, which put him on top of the UK men’s rankings for the rest of the 2012 season.

Russell Hampton with Sky’s Ian Stannard and Alex Dowsett during the winning break of the British Road Race Championship.

Wins also came for Russell Hampton in Colne, Tobyn Horton in Stockton, Evan Oliphant at the Duncan Murray Wines road race and Jamie Sparling at the BBM road race.

The Tour of Britain was the culmination of the domestic season for Raleigh-GAC. The 8-stage televised race took Raleigh back into the living rooms of over 500,000 people every night. Raleigh-GAC animated the race with Graham Briggs, Bernie Sulzberger and Liam Holohan in exciting form.

Graham’s memorable break came on Stage 6 where he was the only rider to keep pace with eventual race winner Jonathan Tiernan Locke first time over Caerphilly Mountain.

As the domestic road season draws to a close our boys are keeping themselves fit by returning to the track and racing the Revolution Series, which is drawing big TV audiences and big crowds at Manchester Velodrome.
The team management has also been busy signing big names for 2013, ensuring Team Raleigh continue making progress towards the top level of professional cycling.

The Stats

105 top tens
55 podium places
20 individual victories
Two team wins: Elite Circuit Championships, Tour Series Stage 6 (Peterborough)
Two KOM jersey victories: Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic (Jamie Sparling), Beaumont Trophy (Evan Oliphant)
Two Sprints jersey victories: Halfords Tour Series (Bernie Sulzberger), Jayco Bay Crits (Bernie Sulzberger)
60,000 miles driven with our sponsors’ branding

Over 50 Dura Ace and Ultegra group sets and 132 wheels used.
Over 50 ITM lightweight carbon seatposts and stems.
Over 300 super hard wearing Schwalbe training tyres and super fast rolling race tyres.
3 lightweight San Marco saddles per rider, moulded to perfection.
Multiple MOA warm winter kits and light summer race kits for 12 riders.
24 pairs of carbon-soled race shoes.
120 lightweight and super tough KMC chains. In gold.
480 super-efficient QUAD brake pads and sooo many cables.
Several hundred jars of calorific Nutella hazelnut spread. The perfect pre-race, post-race and sometimes even mid-race snack.
Riders and results

Graham Briggs
1st: Ixworth Town Centre Crits and Invitation Race, Colchester Tour Series, Brighouse Elite Crit, Stafford GP, Abergavenny Elite Crit, Sheffield Elite Crit, Cross Trax Road Race, BBM Road Race 1
2nd: Stockton Elite Crit, Colne Elite Crit, Duncan Wines Road Race,
3rd Peterborough Tour Series, BBM Road Race 2

Bernie Sulzberger
1st: Stoke Tour Series, East Midlands Regional Championships
2nd: Kirkcaldy Tour Series
3rd: Tour Doon Hame, Duncan Wines Road Race, Beverly Elite Crit
Winner of Tour Series points competition

Evan Oliphant
1st: Duncan Murray Wines Road Race
3rd: Vuelta Mexico Stage 3, Drummond Trophy,
KOM winner at Beaumont Trophy

Daniel Holloway
1st: Vuelta Mexico Stage
2nd: Tour Doon Hame, Peterborough Tour Series
4th Stockton Elite Crit

Jamie Sparling
1st: BBM Road Race 1,
2nd: Tour de Beauce Stage 2, Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, BBM Road Race 2,
3rd: Severn Bridge Road Race

Russell Hampton
1st: Hillingdon GP, Colne Elite Crit
2nd: Tour de Beauce Stage 5
3rd: British Professional Road Race Championships

Simon Holt
1st: Castle Combe Circuit Race
2nd: Hoghill Circuit Race, Loughborough Crit
3rd: BBM Road Race

Jeroen Janssen
1st: IG Markets folding bike race
3rd: Loughborough Crit
10th: Ronde Van Gervan

Tobyn Horton
1st: Stockton Crit
2nd: Vuelta Mexico stage 6
3rd: Vuelta Mexico stage 5
4th: Vuelta Mexico stage 1
5th: Sheffield Criterium Elite Series

Liam Holohan
3rd: Tour de Beauce Stage 5, Cross Trax Road Race
5th: Brighouse Crit

Matt Holmes
1st: Loughborough Crit
2nd: Under 23 British National Road Race Championships
3rd: CDNW Capernwray

Brennan Townshend
8th: Fraddon Grand Prix
8th Paignton Regatta Circuit Races
40th overall in the Tour de Beauce, Canada



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