A Kilt and bagpipes are not the most streamlined accessories for a pro cyclist but it’s what Scotsman Evan Oliphant wore to lead the Plowman Craven Madison riders at the team launch in Milton Keynes yesterday.
Oliphant, one of the veterans of the squad has recently returned from a summer racing in Australia to join the team for a busy 2009 season that will focus on the Tour Criterium series, Nocturnes, Premiere Calendar and Tours of Britain and Ireland.
Other team members include Tom Barras, nicknamed “Rat”, who spent six years racing in Belgium as a pro cyclist and achieved eight wins in 2008, including three stage wins in the Tour of Bermuda. 32-year-old Tony Gibb, meanwhile, is slightly more predictably nicknamed “Gibby” and, according to the website, says if he wasn’t a pro cyclist he would be “living the highlife in Monaco.”
The highlife will have to be put on hold this year, however, and replaced with plenty of hard work to give team owner and MD of Plowman Craven, Simon Barnes, the successful season he hopes for.
"2009 looks like it will be even better for us and I'm impressed with the amount of talent we have for a relatively young squad,” said Barnes.
“The guys rode with distinction at the Tour of Mallorca two weeks ago and we've been invited out to more races as a result."
The Plowman Craven Madison team was formed from the merging of Pearl Izumi, who stayed on as clothing sponsors, and Plowman Craven, with new sponsors Madison.
Team Director Cherie Pridham, one of only two female managers in the sport in Europe, realised her long time dream of managing a pro team and believes that despite the young squad the team will feature in all the key races this year.
"This is a great bunch of guys and it's a dream come true for me to be working with them," said Pridham. "I think there will be a few surprises as there is a lot of raw talent that Eddie can make the most of during the races"
Madison Marketing Manager Matt Rushton said the team was the perfect vehicle for Madison to give something back to the road racing scene in the UK and maintain the profile of their leading brands Cervelo, Shimano, Giro and Garmin.
The next fixture in the team’s calendar is the Severn Bridge/Felt Bikes Road Race on March 1.