Tom Southam will move from Halfords Bikehut to the Rapha-Condor team in 2009. It will mean the end his partnership with Rob Hayles, who will lead the strengthened Halfords team, but Southam is convinced Rapha-Condor is the right team for him. He is also looking forward to working with charismatic team manager John Herety.

?Things do look like they’ll be pretty different next year?? Southam told Cycling Weekly via email from his Australian base in Geelong, where he will spend the winter.

?I had the luxury of a choice between the best two teams in the UK and although I had no complaints at all with Halfords this year I opted to change. Rob and I had a really good year but the dynamic that made us work so well couldn’t realistically be the same in a team format, so whatever I did this year would have been a completely new chapter.?

?I’ve raced for many years for John and had we’ve always had a good relationship, so for me it was a natural decision to seek him out and be part of his team. Everything about the team for me fitted perfectly: the riders, the programme, the management and the sponsor. I think it’s a team that knows exactly what it is and does that very well. It’ll be a little different next year and I’m very pleased to be a part of that. At this stage in my life its exactly the team I want to ride for.?

HAYLES BECOMES A RIVAL BUT STAYS A FRIEND
This year Southam and Hayles created a highly successful double act at Halfords Bikehut. Next year they will be major rivals on rivals teams but Southam is sure they will remain good friends, at least until the national championships.

?Rob’s a big boy and he has some serious talent to look after him now,? Southam jokes.

?We talked a bit together about what we would do this year but both of us understood that we’d each make our own decision. I can’t speak highly enough of Rob on and off the bike and I’m sure we’ll stay good mates until I come around him on a descent in a skin suit to pinch the Nationals off him. Then things might change??

TRAINING IN THE AUSSIE SUNSHINE
Southam has been in Australia since early October, avoiding the cold of the British winter and enjoying the Australian summer. He is currently mixing training rides with long coffee stops but will soon begin more serious training.

?Things are good down here, summer is arriving day by day,? he says.

?I?m training a bit but just ticking over really, with lots of coffee shop rides, which are always brief as I live about 400m from a decent array of brew shops. I?m keeps the k’s pretty low.?

?I’m going to go back to actually training this summer. Kristian House is staying just up the road and there are a few of my former team mates from Drapac around. That means there is plenty of company while riding around the scorched Australian countryside.?

Southam is expected to return to Britain in late January in time for the Rapha-Condor team presentation.

RELATED LINKS
Richardson and Southam sign for Rapha-Condor
Hayles to lead expanded Halfords squad