WILKINSON LOOKING FORWARD TO TOUR OF THE MED

Team Sky is not the only British team racing on the continent in the coming weeks; the new-look Team Endura launch their ambitious European schedule on Wednesday at the Tour of the Med.

2009 Premier Calendar runner-up Ian Wilkinson is looking forward to the challenge.



“Everyone’s very excited about the set-up and the potential of the racing we’ve got planned,” he said. “It’s morale in the team and everyone getting on the same wavelength that produces a good result,” the Lancastrian added.



On a personal level, Wilkinson is feeling strong, despite a recurrent knee injury. “I’m quite pleased with where the condition’s at, although I don’t think anything will prepare for us for 30mph bunches!”



It promises to be a baptism of fire for the team, sharing the pack with several ProTour squads and the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov and Robert Gesink.



Nevertheless, the 30-year-old is keen on making an impression. “I’ll certainly hope to show my face in the front,” he said. Depending on how the stages pan out, Wilkinson is also planning on giving it a go in the bunch sprints alongside new recruit Alexandre Blain.



And how’s his French? “Ca va, ca va,” Wilkinson quipped. “I spent a year racing in France, so I’m looking forward to trying it out – and chatting to the new French teammate [Blain].”



The Endura team for the Tour of the Med (February 10-14) consists of Ross Creber, Rob Partridge, Evan Oliphant, Ian Wilkinson, James McCallum, James Moss, Gary Hand and Alexandre Blain.



Ian Wilkinson wins

Wilkinson winning the East Midlands Classic last year



BRITISH CYCLING FIGURES THE HIGHEST EVER

British Cycling’s membership figures are the highest they have ever been, with the current figure standing at an impressive 29,000.



Membership figures have more than doubled since 2005, a simply staggering statistic.



The number of racing licence holders stands at 15,000, which is an increase of around 15% on the same time last year.





BIKE SHOP CHARITY RAFFLE

Dirtwheels Cycles in Otley, West Yorkshire, is organising a charity auction to raise money for Candlelighters Children’s Cancer Charity at St. James Hospital in Leeds.



The shop is auctioning memorabilia obtained by Endura rider Rob Partridge and includes jerseys signed by Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy and Paul Manning. Also available are some Halfords gloves and signed cap from Ben Swift.



Tickets can be purchased from the shop via post; a donation or cheque can be sent to the address and tickets will be sent back in return – Dirtwheels Cycles, 66 Borouhgate, Otley, LS21 1AE, 01943 466869.



The raffle will be drawn at 12:00 on March 6.



Rob Partridge charity auction

Rob Partridge (centre) posing with some of the memorabilia



INFORMATION NEEDED AFTER ‘CROSS CHAMPS THEFT

An opportunist thief made off with veteran Gary Allen’s distinctive Kuota cross bike from outside the signing on tent at the national cyclo-cross championships in Sutton Park on Saturday.





Anyone seeing or hearing of a medium Kuota Carbon Cross with carbon Spinergy wheels and yellow spokes should contact Sutton Coldfield police or call Gary at GA Cycles on 02380 636648.





The unique machine features Dura Ace gears, Rotor 3D cranks and TRP Mag brakes. Frame number; KUCC01MW090014.





NEW RACING TEAM HITS THE SOUTHWEST

Specialist bike retailer Southfork has teamed up with Litespeed to create a new four-man team in the south west of England.



The ambitious team will be tackling all southwest calendar events and selected national races with the aim of placing Southfork Racing-Litespeed into the top 15 ranked teams in the country.  



The team will be formed of John Hollier, who has a wealth of experience riding in France and Belgium; Blake Pond; Peter Johnson, ex-national junior road race champion and Gary Chambers, a climbing and time trial specialist who went from third to first category on the road in one year.



The team’s progress can be charted on www.southforkracing.co.uk





ISLE OF WIGHT VOTED TOP CYCLING LOCATION

The Isle of Wight has been voted as one of the top ten cycling locations in the world by travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet.



Over half of the island has been designated as an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ and each year everything two-wheeled is celebrated with the Cycling Festival, running from 18-26 September this year.





ENTRIES OPEN FOR 2010 RADAR RIDE

Entries are now open for the 2010 Rader Ride, which boasts the self-styled moniker of ‘the original summit sportive’.



The ride, which started life as the Southern Uplands Sportive, starts in the highest village in Scotland (Wanlockhead) and finishes outside the radar station at the summit of Lowther Hill (the highest road in Scotland).



Needless to say, it’s hilly. 2,300 metres of climbing over 105 miles will certainly test more than a few legs, taking in Dalveen Pass, the Devil’s Beeftub and the infamous 20% slopes of the Wall of Talla.



Due to parking restrictions in Wanlockhead, entries are restricted to just 350.



Contact Peter Smith on 07919897076 or peter@sus8events.com